A nickname can tell a lot
St. Drausius' potential was recognized early in life
By Tony Staley
When: died c. 674
What: Bishop and founder of a monastery and convent
Feast: March 7
How someone gets from one place in life to another is often fascinating. Usually, it has to do with the people one gets to know in life. They both help shape an individual and open doors to others who can help determine what happens.
Such was the case with St. Drausius (or Drausin).
As a youth, he was educated at Soissons -- a community northwest of Paris -- under St. Anseric, the bishop of Soissons.
Next, Drausius was named an archdeacon by Anseric's successor, Bp. Bettolin, who saw a great deal of promise in the young man. Indeed, he thought so highly of Drausius that as Bettolin was preparing to retire -- because, he said, his election as bishop was not valid -- he recommended Drausius be selected as his successor.
As bishop, Drausius quickly built a reputation as an able administrator and an excellent preacher. Many people were said to have converted after hearing him preach.
Drausius also was known for his austere way of life. It is said he fasted throughout life and, despite his poor health, compounded his suffering through voluntary mortifications.
Drausius also founded two religious communities in his diocese -- one for men, the other for women.
He built a monastery along the Aisne River at Rethondes, on land he bought from Bettolin.
The convent appears to have been an even bigger endeavor. Drausius built it in Soissons with a great deal of help from Leutrude, the wife of Ebroin, mayor of the palace.
Work on Notre Dame de Soissons Church was completed in 664, when the church was dedicated. But it was obvious that it was not large enough, so Drausius built two other chapels. One was used by the abbess and the nuns in the community. The other one was reserved for sick nuns, guests and the poor, to whom they ministered.
Drausius lived long enough to complete the work.
His life challenges us to consider how we carry out the work of God in our lives. While the self-disciplines he practiced seem overly severe, they invite us to consider whether we are asking enough of ourselves in prayer, service and penitential practices, particularly during this Lenten season.
(Sources: Butler's Lives of the Saints, Dictionary of Saints.)