ST. HOSPICIUS, IN FRENCH HOSPIS, ANCHORET
WHILE the wilful blindness, impiety, and
abominations of a wicked world cry to heaven for vengeance, the
servants of God, trembling under the apprehension of his judgments,
endeavor to deprecate his just anger by torrents of tears with which
they bewail their own spiritual miseries, and the evils in which the
world is drowned. Thus Jeremiah wept over the infidelities of his
people. St. Gildas and other British saints in the sixth century,
were the Jeremies of their country. Salvian of Marseilles, by his
elegant and pathetic lamentations, has deserved to be styled the
Jeremy of his age. Many other religious persons, by redoubling the
fervor of their prayers, the abundance of their tears, and the
austerity of their penance have, in every age, strenuously endeavored
to escape divine vengeance, and to avert the same from others. St.
Hospicius was eminently endowed with this spirit of zeal and penance.
The place of his birth is not known; but that of his retirement was a
rock near Villefranche, about a league from Nice in Piedmont. Here he
built a monastery, but lived himself in a little tower at some
distance: from him the place is called St. Sospit. The holy hermit
loaded himself with a heavy iron chain, and his garment was a rough
hair shirt, made of large hair of camels. His food was a little
coarse bread, and a few dates, with water; in Lent it consisted only
of the roots of certain Egyptian herbs, which merchants brought him
from Alexandria to Nice. He foretold distinctly the coming of the
Lombards,* and exhorted the inhabitants to save themselves by flight.
When a troop of those barbarians plundered his monastery and
mountain, finding him chained in his voluntary dungeon, they took him
for some notorious malefactor, and asked him of what crimes he was
guilty? He answered them of many of the deepest dye; meaning his
sins, which in a spirit of humility he had always before his eyes. At
these words one of the Lombards, taking him for some murderer, lifted
up his sword to dispatch him; but his arm became suddenly benumbed
and motionless, till the saint restored it sound. This and other
miracles converted the rage of the barbarians into veneration for his
person. St. Gregory of Tours, who was contemporary with him, relates
other predictions and miracles of this great saint; though the most
wonderful of his miracles was the edifying example of his life, by
which he preached to sinners a saving fear of the divine judgments
still more powerfully than by his zealous exhortations. His happy
death happened about the year 580, on the 15th of October, on which
day his festival is celebrated at Nice; though, on account of a
translation of his relics, the 21st of May is consecrated to his
memory in the Roman Martyrology. See S. Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc.1.
6, c. 6, et de Glor. Confess. c. 97; Aimoinus,1. 3, c. 38; Paulus
Diaconus,1. 3; Petrus Jofredus, in Nica Illustrata, Par. 1, t. 10;
Grvius, in Thesauro Antiqu. Ital. t. 9, par. 6, p. 114; Otto
Frisingensis, Constant. Porphyr., &c.
On this day the Roman Martyrology mentions St.
Bruno, or Brun, whose life see on the 19th of June, under the name of