Rev. Alban Butler (171173). Volume II: February. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.
St. Amandus, Bishop and Confessor
HE was born near Nantes, of pious parents, lords of that territory. At twenty years of age, he retired into a small monastery in the little isle of Oye, near that of Rhé. He had not been there above a year, when his father found him out, and made use of every persuasive argument in his power to prevail with him to quit that state of life. To his threats of disinheriting him, the saint cheerfully answered: Christ is my only inheritance. The saint went to Tours, and a year after to Bourges, where he lived near fifteen years under the direction of St. Austregisilus, the bishop, in a cell near the cathedral. His clothing was a single sack-cloth, and his sustenance barley-bread and water. After a pilgrimage to Rome, he was ordained in France a missionary bishop, without any fixed see, in 628, and commissioned to preach the faith to infidels. He preached the gospel in Flanders, and among the Sclavi in Carinthia and other provinces near the Danube:1 but being banished by King Dagobert, whom he had boldly reproved for his scandalous crimes, he preached to the pagans of Gascony and Navarre. Dagobert soon recalled him, threw himself at his feet to beg his pardon, and caused him to baptize his new-born son, Saint Sigebert, afterwards king. The idolatrous people about Ghent were so savage, that no preacher durst venture himself amongst them. This moved the saint to choose that mission; during the course of which he was often beaten, and sometimes thrown into the river: he continued preaching, though for a long time he saw no fruit, and supported himself by his labour. The miracle of his raising a dead man to life, at last opened the eyes of the barbarians, and the country came in crowds to receive baptism, destroying the temples of their idols with their own hands. In 633, the saint having built them several churches, founded two great monasteries in Ghent, both under the patronage St. Peter; one was named Blandinberg, from the hill of Blandin on which it stands, now the rich abbey of St. Peters; the other took the name of St. Bavo, from him who gave his estate for its foundation; this became the cathedral in 1559, when the city was created a bishops see. Besides many pious foundations, both in France and Flanders, in 639, he built the great abbey three leagues from Tournay, called Elnon, from the river on which it stands; but it has long since taken the name of St. Amand, with its town and warm mineral baths. In 649 he was chosen bishop of Maestricht; but three years after he resigned that see to St. Remaclus, and returned to his missions, to which his compassion for the blindness of infidels always inclined his heart. He continued his labours amongst them till the age of eighty-six, when, broken with infirmities, he retired to Elnon, which house he governed as abbot four years more, spending that time in preparing his soul for his passage to eternity, which happened in 675. His body is honourably kept in that abbey. The Sarum Breviary honoured St. Amandus and St. Vedast with an office of nine lessons. See Buzelin, Gallo-Flandria, and Henschenius, 6 Feb. p. 815, who has published five different lives of this saint.