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Feastday: March 8

Birth: 1085

Death: 1154

As a priest, Stephen, of Vielge, France, was assiduous in letting nothing short of grave necessity interrupt his recitation of the divine office. He was likewise zealous in seeing to the provision of fitting sacred vessels, furnishings, and vestments for Mass. Aspiring to a more austere life, Stephen and a like-minded priest set out at the beginning of Lent one year to find a suitable place where they could live as hermits. On Good Friday they discovered in the region of Obazine the ideal site in a dense forest, framed by craggy cliffs and a gurgling stream. The two priests remained there fasting until Easter Sunday, when they journeyed to a nearby church to celebrate Mass. Afterward, they were saddened not to receive an invitation to Easter dinner from anyone. Heading back to their hermitage, they paused to rest on the crest of a mountain, weak from hunger. Here a farmwoman approached and offered them half a loaf of bread and a vessel of milk. Stephen would later say of this simple meal that it was the most delightful he had ever tasted. Over time their hermitage became a Cistercian monastery, with Stephen as abbot.

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