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St. Walter of Pontoise

Facts

Feastday: April 8
Patron: of prisoners; prisoners of war; vintners; invoked against job-related stress
Birth: 1030
Death: 1095

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St. Walter of Pontoise, Abbot (Feast - April 8) Walter Gautier was born in Picardy, France, in the eleventh century. A well-educated individual, he became a professor of philosophy and rhetoric. Later, he entered the Benedictine abbey of Rebais-en-Brie. When King Philip I appointed Walter as the first abbot of a new monastery at Pontoise, Walter reminded Philip that God was the one who conferred such honors, not the king. Seeking solitude, he fled Pontoise on two occasions, but both times he was forced to return. Walter then went to Rome to ask Pope Gregory VII for release from his position so that he could follow a life of solitude. However, the Pope told Walter to use the talents God had given him, and thus Walter resigned himself to staying at Pontoise. When he spoke out against simony and the evil lives of the secular clergy, this caused great outrage, and on one occasion he was beaten and thrown into prison. After his release, Walter continued to live a life of mortification, spending entire nights in prayer. After establishing the foundation of a convent in honor of Mary at Bertaucourt, Walter died on Good Friday in the year 1095.

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