|Rev. Alban Butler (171173). Volume IV: April.|
The Lives of the Saints. 1866.
|St. Druon, or Drugo, Recluse, Patron of Shepherds|
|HE was nobly born, at Epinoy in Flanders; but his father died before his birth, and his mother in child-bed. From his infancy, he was remarkable for piety and devotion, and at twenty years of age distributed his money and goods among the poor, and renounced his estates in favour of the next heirs, that he might be at liberty to serve Christ in poverty and penance. Being thus disengaged from the world, clad in a ragged poor garment, over a hair shirt, he set out, like Abraham, leaving his friends and his country, and, after having visited several holy places, hired himself shepherd to a virtuous lady, named Elizabeth de la Haire, at Sebourg, two leagues from Valenciennes. The retirement and abjection of this state were most agreeable to him, on account of the opportunities with which they furnished him of perpetual prayer, and the exercises of penance and humility. Happy would servants be, did they consider and make use of the great advantages to virtue which Providence puts into their hands, by daily opportunities of most heroic acts of obedience, self-denial, humility, patience, meekness, penance, and all other virtues. The saints thought they purchased such opportunities cheap at any rate; yet many lose them, nay, by sloth, impatience, avarice, or other vices, pervert them into occasions of sin. Six years Druon kept sheep, in great obscurity, and as the last among the menial servants; but his humility, modesty, meekness, charity, and eminent spirit of devotion and prayer, in spite of his disguise, gained him the esteem and affection of everybody, particularly of his mistress. Many made him presents: but these he bestowed on the poor, with whatever he could privately retrench from himself. To fly the danger of applause, at length he left his place, and visited Rome nine times, and often many other places of devotion; making these pilgrimages not journeys of sloth, curiosity, and dissipation, but exercises of uninterrupted prayer and penance. He returned from time to time to Sebourg; where, when a rupture put an end to his pilgrimages, he at length pitched his tent for the remainder of his life. He built himself a narrow cell against the wall of the church, that he might at all times adore God as it were at the foot of his altars. Here he lived a recluse for the space of forty-five years, his food being barley bread made with a lie of ashes, and his drink warm water. To disguise this part of his mortifications, he called this diet a medicine for his distemper. In this voluntary prison he lived in assiduous prayer and manual labour to the eighty-fourth year of his age, dying in 1186, on the 16th of April, on which day his name occurs in the Roman Martyrology. His relics remain in the church of St. Martin at Sebourg. See his life in Papebroke, p. 441; Miræus, &c.|| 1|