Rev. Alban Butler (171173). Volume VII: July. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.
St. Rumold, Bishop and Martyr
From the Bollandists, Ward, Act. &c. S. Rumoldi, Lov. 1662, 4to. Sellerii Act. S. Rumoldi, An. 1718, &c.
[Patron of Mechlin.1] ST. RUMOLD renounced the world in his youth and embraced a state of voluntary poverty, being convinced that whatever exceeds the calls of nature is a useless load and a perfect burden to him who bears it. He was the most declared enemy to voluptuousness, and by frugality, moderation, and a heart pure and disengaged from all seducing vanities, and desires of what is superfluous, he tasted the most solid pleasure which virtue gives in freeing a man from the tyranny of his passions, when he feels them subjected to him, and finds himself above them. Victorious over himself, by humility, meekness, and mortification, he reaped in his soul, without any obstacles from self-love or inordinate attachments, the sweet and happy fruits of assiduous prayer and contemplation, whereby he sanctified his studies, in which he made great progress, and at the same time advanced daily in Christian perfection. He had faithfully served God many years in his own country, when an ardent zeal for the divine honour and the salvation of souls induced him to travel into Lower Germany to preach the faith to the idolaters. He made a journey first to Rome to receive his mission from the chief pastor, and with the apostolic blessing went into Brabant, great part of which country about Mechlin he converted to the faith. He was ordained a regionary or missionary bishop without any fixed see. He frequently interrupted his exterior functions to renew his spirit before God in holy solitude. In his retirement he was slain on the 24th of June in 775, by two sons of Belial, one of whom he had reproved for adultery. His body was thrown into a river; but being miraculously discovered, it was honourably interred by his virtuous friend and protector, Count Ado. A great and sumptuous church was built at Mechlin to receive his precious relics, which is still possessed of that treasure, and bears the name of this saint. The city of Mechlin keeps his feast a solemn holiday, and honours him as its patron and apostle. Janning the Bollandist gives a long history of his miracles. His great church at Mechlin was raised to the metropolitical dignity by Paul IV. Ware says that the feast of St. Rumold was celebrated as a double festival with an office of nine lessons throughout the province of Dublin before the reformation. It was extended to the whole kingdom of Ireland in the year 1741.
It was from the spirit of prayer that the saints derived all their light and all their strength. This was the source of all the blessings which heaven through their intercession showered down on the world, and the means which they employed to communicate an angelical purity to their souls. This spirit, says a father of the Church,2 is nourished by retreat, which in some manner may be called the parent of purity. This admirable transformation of our souls produced by prayer is to be attributed to Gods glory, which by prayer he makes to shine in the secret of our hearts. In fine, when all the avenues of our senses are closed against the creature, and that God dwells with us, and we with God; when freed from the tumult and distractions of the world we apply all our attention to interior things and consider ourselves such as we are, we then become capable of clearly contemplating the kingdom of God, established in us by that charity and ardent love which consumes all the rust of earthly affections; for the kingdom of heaven, or rather the Lord of heaven itself, is within us, as Jesus Christ himself assures us.
Note 1. The place of St. Rumolds birth is contested. According to certain Belgic and other Martyrologies, he was of the blood royal of Scotland (as Ireland was then called) and bishop of Dublin. This opinion is ably supported by F. Hu. Ward, an Irish Franciscan, a man well skilled in the antiquities of his country, in a work entitled Dissertatio Historica de Vita et Patria S. Rumoldi, Archiepiscopi Dubliniensis, published at Louvain in 1662, in 4to. The learned Pope Benedict XIV. seems to adjudge St. Rumold to Ireland, in his letter to the prelates of that kingdom, dated the 1st of August, 1741, wherein are the following words: Quod si recensere voluerimus sanctissimos viros Columbanum, Kilianum, Virgilium, Rumoldum, Gallum, aliosque plures qui ex Hibernia in alias provincias catholicam fidem invexerunt, aut illam per martyrium effuso sanguine collustrarunt. (Hib. Dom. Suppl. p. 831.) On the other hand, Janning the Bollandist undertakes to prove that St. Rumold was an English Saxon. See Janning and J. B. Sellerii Acta S. Rumoldi, Antwerp. 1718; also F. Ward, and Wares Bishops, p. 305. [back]