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St. Rusticus of Narbonne

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Born either at Marseilles or at Narbonnaise, Gaul; died 26 Oct., 461. According to biographers, Rusticus is the one to whom St. Jerome (about 411) addressed a letter, commending him to imitate the virtues of St. Exuperius of Toulouse and to follow the advice of Procule, then Bishop of Marseilles. When he had completed his education in Gaul, Rusticus went to Rome, where he soon gained a reputation as a public speaker, but he wished to embrace the contemplative life. He wrote to St. Jerome, who advised him to continue his studies. Thus Rusticus entered the monastery of St. Vincent of Lérins. He was ordained at Marseilles, and on 3 Oct., 430 (or 427) was consecrated Bishop of Narbonne. With all his zeal, he could not prevent the progress of the Arian heresy which the Goths were spreading abroad. The siege of Narbonne by the Goths and dissensions among the Catholics so disheartened him that he wrote to St. Leo , renouncing the bishoporic, but St. Leo dissuaded him. He then endeavoured to consolidate the Catholics. In 444-448, he built the church in Narbonne; in 451, he assisted at the convocation of forty-four bishops of Gaul and approved St. Leo's letter to Flavian, concerning Nestorianism ; he was present also at the Council of Arles, with thirteen bishops, to decide the debate between Theodore, Bishop of Fréjus, and the Abbey of Lérins. A letter from Ravennius, Bishop of Arles, sent to Rusticus, proves the high esteem in which he was held. His letters are lost, with the exception of the one to St. Jerome and two others to St. Leo, written either in 452 or 458. His feast is celebrated on 20 October.

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