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ST. MAURONT, ABBOT

HE was born in the year 634, and was baptized by St. Riquier. Being the eldest son of blessed Adalbald, an illustrious French nobleman of royal blood, and of St. Rictrudes, of a most noble family in Gascony or Aquitaine, his high birth promised him the first honors of the kingdom, and his capacity and integrity made him superior to the greatest affairs. He passed his youth in the court of king Clovis II. and the holy queen Bathildes, and discharged in it many honorable employs. On the death of his father he became lord or duke of Douay, and succeeded to his other large estates, came home into Flanders to settle his concerns and to marry a rich young lady, a treaty having been already concluded for this purpose. But God designed him for a state of greater perfection; and his instrument for bringing this about was St. Amand, bishop of Maestricht, who then led a retired life in his monastery of Elnone. Mauront was so touched by a discourse of this holy prelate on the vanity and dangers of the world, that he went directly to the monastery of Marchiennes, founded by his mother. There he soon received the clerical tonsure from St. Amand, and after some years was made deacon and prior of Hemaye, or Hamaige, half a league from Marchiennes, on the Scarp. He built himself a new monastery called Breüil, on his estate of Merville, a considerable town near St. Venant, in the diocese of Teroüanne, and when it was finished, was chosen the first abbot. His father Adalbald had two brothers, Sigefrid, count of Ponthieu, and Archenald Mayor of the Palace to Clovis II., son to Dagobert, to whom they were related. After the death of Adalbald, whom the poet who celebrated St. Rictrudes, styles duke of the people of Douay,* his brother Archenald rebuit, the castle of Douay, (which gave rise to the town,) and founded the church of our Lady, now called St. Amatus’s.1 St. Amatus, on being banished by king Theodoric III., was committed to the care of Mauront, who profited exceedingly by the saintly conversations of that holy confessor: whom he so much respected that he resigned to him his abbacy, and lived under his obedience, but was obliged to resume his charge upon the death of that holy bishop, in 690. He was also abbot of the monks at Marchiennes, while his sister Clotsenda was abbess of the separate house of nuns, this being at that time a double monastery. St. Mauront died there in the seventy-second year of his age, of Christ 706, on the 5th of May, on which day he is commemorated in the Belgic Martyrologies. Merville, the ancient Minariacum of Antoninus, having been plundered by the Danes or Normans, towards the end of the ninth century, Charles the Simple, king of France, transferred the community of monks from Breüil to our Lady’s church at Douay, which had been founded by Archenald, St. Mauront’s uncle. At the same time the body of St. Mauront, with that of St. Amatus, was translated from Breüil to Douay, and both are there enshrined in the church of St. Amatus, which, since the secularization of the monastery in 940, is a collegiate church of canons. In its archives, and in the ancient calendars of the cathedral of Arras, St. Martin’s at Tournay, Liesse, &c., St. Mauront is styled sometimes Levite or deacon, and sometimes abbot: by which he seems never to have been ordained priest. His body is kept in a rich shrine in this church, in which is a chapel sacred to his name and his parents, where his statue is seen betwixt those of his parents. He is represented holding in his right hand a sceptre, and in his left a building with a tower or belfry. The abbey of St. Guislin in Hainault possesses his skull in a shrine of silver gilt. The cathedral of Arras, and some churches, show particles of his relics.* On his life consult Huebald the monk, in his life of St. Rictrudes, the archives of the church of St. Amatus in Douay, copied by Buzelin in his accurate Gallo-Flandria, and Annales Flandrici, and by Henschenius, t. 2, Maij, p. 53. See also Miræus, Malbrancq, Locrius, Grammaye, Sylvius Baldricus, Le Cointe, an. 638, n. 97; Molanus, &c.








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