January 1

St. Eugendus, or Oyend, Abbot

(c. A.D. 510)

St. Eugendus

AFTER the death of the brothers St. Romanus and St. Lupicinus, founders of the abbey of Condat, under whose discipline he had been educated from the age of seven, Eugendus became coadjutor to Minausius, their imrnediate successor, and soon after, upon his demise, abbot of that famous monastery. His life was most austere, and he was so dead to himself as to seem incapable of betraying the least emotion of anger. His countenance was always cheerful; yet he never laughed. He was well skilled in Greek and Latin and in the Holy Scriptures, and a great promoter of studies in his monastery, but no importunities could prevail upon him to consent to be ordained priest. In the lives of the first abbots of Condat it is mentioned that the monastery, which was built by St. Romanus of timber, being consumed by fire, St. Eugendus rebuilt it of stone; and also that he built a handsome church in honour of SS. Peter, Paul and Andrew. His prayer was almost continual, and his devotion most ardent during his last illness. Having called the priest among his brethren to whom he had committed the office of anointing the sick, Eugendus caused him to anoint his breast according to the custom then prevalent, and he breathed forth his soul five days after, about the year 510, and of his age sixty-one. The great abbey of Condat, seven leagues from Geneva, received from this saint the name of Saint-Oyend, till in the thirteenth century it exchanged it for that of Saint-Claude, after the bishop of Besançon who is honoured on June 6.

From Butler’s Lives of the Saints Complete Edition

Fourth Abbot of Condat (Jura), b. about 449, at Izernore, Ain, Franche-Comté; d. 1 Jan., 510 at Condat. He was instructed in reading and writing by his father, who had become a priest, and at the age of seven was given to Sts. Romanus and Lupicinus to be educated at Condat, in the French Jura. Thenceforth he never left the monastery. He imitated the example of the above-named saints with such zeal that it was difficult to tell which of the two he resembled more. Eugendus acquired much learning, read the Greek and Latin authors, and was well versed in the Scriptures. He led a life of great austerity, but out of humility did not want to be ordained priest. Abbot Minausius made him his coadjutor, and after the former’s death (about 496) Eugendus became his successor. He always remained the humble religious that he had been before, a model for his monks by his penitence and piety, which God deigned to acknowledge by miracles. After the monastery, which St. Romanus had built of wood, was destroyed by fire, Eugendus erected another of stone, and improved the community life; thus far the brethren had lived in separate cells after the fashion of the Eastern ascetics. He built a beautiful church in honour of the holy Apostles Peter, Paul, and Andrew, and enriched it with precious relics. The order, which had been founded on the rules of the Oriental monasteries, now took on more of the active character of the Western brethren; the rule of Tarnate is thought to have served as a model. Condat began to flourish as a place of refuge for all those who suffered from the misfortunes and afflictions of those eventful times, a school of virtue and knowledge amid the surrounding darkness, an oasis in the desert. When Eugendus felt his end approaching he had his breast anointed by a priest, took leave of his brethren, and died quietly after five days.

   A few years after his death, his successor, St. Viventiolus, erected a church over his tomb, to which numerous pilgrims travelled. A town was founded, which was called, after the saint, Saint-Oyand de Joux, and which retained that name as late as the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, while its former name of Condat passed into oblivion. But when St. Claudius had, in 687, resigned his Diocese of Besançon and had died, in 696, as twelfth abbot, the number of pilgrims who visited his grave was so great that, since the thirteenth century, the name Saint-Claude came more and more into use and has today superseded the other. The feast of St. Eugendus was at first transferred to 2 Jan.; in the Dioceses of Besançon and Saint Claude it is now celebrated on 4 Jan.

From The Catholic Encyclopedia

Saint Eugendus, pray for us.

Sanctus Eugendus, ora pro nobis.

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