Sunday, July 4, 2010

Saint of the Day - St. Ulric

St. Ulric was born in 890 A.D. at Kyburg, Zurich, Switzerland. His father was Count Hucpald through whom Ulric was related to the dukes of Alamannia and the imperial family.

A sickly child, it was predicted that Ulric would not live long. However, his life of prayer and study at the monastic school of St. Gall (where he was an excellent student) did more for his health than all the doctors' remedies.

Ulric served as chamberlain to his uncle, Blessed Adalbero, the Bishop of Augsburg, before being appointed Bishop himself. As Bishop, Ulric was fully devoted to his parishioners to whom he offered instruction, comfort, and relief. Butler's Lives of the Saints states "He excused himself from attending the court, knowing of what importance the presence of a bishop is to his flock, for which he is to give a severe account to God." Ulric further devoted himself to building as many churches as possible in order to make the blessings of the Church more accessible to the common people. He was known for a strict adherence to the laws of the Church, which he also demanded of his clergy.

When barbarians attacked his diocese of Augsburg, St. Ulric led the people in prayer which included processions and devotions. Their prayers were answered when the invaders were seized with fear and fled in a panic. They were met and defeated by Emperor Otho.

Ulric passed away on July 4, 973. In his last hours he had ashes strewn on the floor in the shape of a cross and sprinkled with holy water. He was then laid upon this cross on which he died while the clergy sang the litany. He was buried in the Church of St. Afra which he had rebuilt.

St. Ulric was the first saint to be canonized by a pope (Pope John XV) which led to the canonical process which the church uses today to determine sainthood.

He is the patron saint against birth complications and of pregnant women because legend states that pregnant women who drank from his chalice had easy deliveries. Similarly, the touch of his pastoral cross was said to heal those bitten by rabid dogs and earth from his grave is said to repel rodents making him the patron saint against mice and moles. He is also patron saint: against faintness; against dizziness; against fever; against frenzy; against vertigo; of the city and diocese of Augsburg, Germany; of Creazzo, Italy; of happy death; and of weavers.

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