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St. Angilbert

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Feastday: February 18
Death: 814

Angilbert, a courtier of the emperor Charlemagne charged with the duty of defending the French coast from Danish invaders, faced the challenge of stopping a fleet of Danes attacking along the Somme River. Before going to battle, he went to pray at the tomb of the abbot Saint Riquier, vowing to become a monk if his army was victorious. In answer to his prayers, there arose a severe thunderstorm with so much lightning, hail, and rain that it dispersed the Danes, leading to their defeat. Angilbert entered the monastery of Centula (Saint-Riquier), later becoming its abbot. Having observed in his own monastic life a rigorous schedule of prayers and psalms throughout the day and night, he introduced in his abbey the practice of "laus perennis," the perpetual recitation of the Psalms, twenty-four hours a day, by relays of monks. A charter issued by Angilbert for the restoration of his monastery provides a fascinating list of relics enshrined by him, including a portion of a candle said to have been used by Mary and Joseph in the manger of Bethlehem. One hundred sixty years after Angilbert's death, his body was found to be incorrupt.


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