(c. 600—668)

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St Ouen (c. 610—684)

St Columbanus (c. 543—615) missionary and monastic founder


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abbot. Born near Verdun, he was brought up at the Austrasian court and got married. But in 628 he and his wife separated by mutual consent to devote themselves to the monastic life. Wandrille was trained as a monk by St Baudry at Montfaucon; afterwards he lived in complete solitude in a log hut near Saint-Ursanne in the Jura. His regime was basically that of the monks of Columbanus, whose monastery at Bobbio he joined for a time. After this he spent ten years in the abbey of Romain-Moûtier and was ordained priest by Ouen, bishop of Rouen. He finally settled at Fontenelle (Normandy), where he founded his own monastery. This, as a centre of asceticism, education, and agriculture, had considerable local influence. Its church was consecrated in 657; the place came to be called Saint-Wandrille.

Some time after his death the Rule of St Benedict was adopted and for many centuries the abbey flourished. His relics were removed during the Viking invasions to Étaples, Chartres, Boulogne, and Mont-Blandin (Ghent). Through the latter centre his feast became known and was celebrated in southern England before the Norman Conquest. His abbey had at least three cells in England, the most important being Ecclesfield (South Yorkshire) and Upavon (Wilts.). His feast spread to other English centres, including York and Hereford.

A fine illustrated Life of Wandrille (11th century) survives at Saint-Omer; at least some of his relics were recovered by his abbey, which flourishes today. Feast: 22 July; translation, 3 March.

AA.SS. Iul. V (1727), 253–302; B. Krusch also edited the earliest Life in M.G.H., Scriptores rerum merov., v (1910), 1–24; F. Lohier and J. Laporte, Gesta sanctorum patrum Fontanellensis coenobii (1936); E.B.K. before 1100, s.d.

Subjects: Christianity.

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