SAINT ULMAR, OR WULMAR, ABBOT OF SAMER
THREE MILES FROM BOULOGNE
HE was nobly born at Sylviaco in the territory of
Boulogne in Picardy. Renouncing the world in his youth, he entered
himself a brother in the abbey of Hautmont in Haynault, where it was
his employment to keep the cattle, and to hew wood for the community.
He was distinguished for his eminent spirit of prayer, and being
compelled by obedience to receive holy orders, was promoted to the
priesthood. He after this obtained leave to live alone in a hermitage
near mount Cassel, and afterward in 688 founded in a wood upon his
father’s estate in Sylviaco in the Boulognois, the abbey of
Samer, corruptly so called for St. Ulmar’s, at present of the
Congregation of St. Maur. St. Ulmar founded a nunnery at Vileria, now
Wiere aux bois, a mile from his own monastery, in which he placed his
niece Bertana abbess. Ceadwalla, king of the West-Saxons, passing
that way in his journey to Rome to receive baptism, conferred on St.
Ulmar a notable largess toward carrying on his foundation. In close
retirement in his hermitage near mount Cassel, the saint preserved
himself always free from worldly passions by flying from the
occasions which chiefly excite them, and by withdrawing from the
great scene of earthly business, envy, avarice, and strife. Here
shutting out the busy swarm of vain images which besets us in the
world, he inured his mind to happy recollection and heavenly
contemplation. In this sweet repose he daily advanced in fervor and
divine charity till he was called to the joys of his Lord on the 20th
of July, 710. He was glorified by miracles, and is named in the Roman
and other Martyrologies on the 20th of July. On the 17th of June his
relics were conveyed to Boulogne for fear of the plunder of the
Normans; and from thence to the abbey of St. Peter’s at Ghent,
where they were burnt by the fury of the Calvinists in the sixteenth
century. See his life written soon after his death in Mabillon, Act.
Bened. t. 3, p. 237; and more full, with new remarks, by Cuper the
Bollandist, Jul. t. 5, p. 81.