About Our Patron Saint

The name of the Patron Saint of St Edmond Catholic Church is St. Edmund. Edmund is correctly spelled with a "u". However, the name was changed in Lafayette, Louisiana to "Edmond" -- which is the French version of Edmund and in honor of Mr. Edmond Orgeron, who was the owner of the land on which the present church was built.

ST. EDMUND RICH was the eldest son of Reynold and Mabilia Rich, of Abingdon in Berkshire, England.
The saint performed the first part of his studies at Oxford, in which he gave very early indications of being a genius. It is indeed easy to understand with what ardor and perseverance a person of good abilities, and deeply impressed with a sense of religion, always applies himself to study, when this becomes an essential part of his duty to God. An uncommon fervor and assiduity in all religious exercises, and a genuine simplicity in his whole conduct, discovered his internal virtues, and betrayed the desire he had of concealing them. Prayer was his delight, and he was young when he and his brother Robert were sent to finish their studies at Paris.

While he lived at Oxford he had consecrated himself to God by means of a vow of perpetual chastity, under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin, in whom, under God, he placed a special confidence; and this vow he observed with the utmost fidelity his whole life. In his study he had an image of the Mother of God before his eyes, around which were represented the mysteries of our redemption; and, in the midst of his most profound studies, his frequent prayers to God were so ardent, that in them he sometimes fell into raptures. He was the admiration of his masters, and for the purity of his life he was regarded as a miracle of sanctity.

He seldom ate more than once a day, and then very sparingly, slept on the bare floor, or on a bench. After he completed his course in liberal arts and mathematics, and had taken the degree of master of arts, he was employed six years in teachings sciences, especially mathematics.

He interpreted the holy scriptures some time during his studies in Paris and it was his custom always to kiss that divine book out of religious respect, as often as he took it into his hands.

What he chiefly inculcated was a sincere spirit of humility, mortification, and holy prayer; and he was principally solicitous to teach Christians to pray in affection and spirit. "Sing to the Lord wisely. What a man repeats by his mouth, then let him feel in his soul." A late French critical author of a book entitled the Tradition of the Church concerning contemplation, says of St. Edmund: "He applied himself from his youth to the contemplation of eternal truths; and so well united in himself (which is very rare) the science of the heart with that of the school, the mystical theology with the speculative, that by letting into his heart the lights of his understanding, he became a perfect contemplative, or mystic theologian; and he has no less enlightened the church by the sanctity of his life, than by the admirable spiritual tract, called, the Mirror of the Church, in which are found many excellent things relating to contemplation."

The see of Canterbury had been long vacant, when pope Gregory IX consecrated Edmund on the 2nd of April, 1234. St. Edmund guided himself by the rules of Christ and his church, and opposed abuses that seemed accepted by custom, and had taken deep root.

There perhaps was never a greater lover of charity and peace than our saint. He often used to say that tribulations were a milk which God prepared for the nourishment of his soul, and that if ever they had any bitterness in them, this was mixed with much sweetness; adding, that they were, as it were, a wild honey, with which his soul had need to be fed in the desert of this world, like John Baptist in the wilderness. He added, that Christ had taught him by his own example to go to meet and salute his persecutors, and only to answer their injuries by earnestly recommending their souls to his heavenly Father. The more he suffered from the world, the greater were the consolations he received from God, and the more eagerly he plunged his heart into the ocean of his boundless sweetness, in heavenly contemplation and prayer.

When he retired to Pontigny, a Cistercian abbey in Champagne, in the diocese of Auxerre, the saint gave himself up to fasting and prayer, and preached frequently in the neighboring churches.

Tears of joy and piety never ceased trickling down his cheeks, and the serenity of his countenance discovered the interior contentment of his holy soul. He expressed his joy by alluding to a proverb then in vogue, as follows: "Men say that delight goeth into the belly, but I say, it goeth into the heart". This inexpressible interior comfort which his soul enjoyed, wonderfully discovered itself by a cheerfulness and glow which cannot be imagined, but which then appeared in his cheeks, which were before as pale as ashes. The next day he received the holy oils, and from that time always held a crucifix in his hands, kissing and saluting affectionately the precious wounds, particularly that of the side, keeping it long applied to his lips with many tears and sighs, accompanied with wonderful interior cheerfulness and joy to his last breath. From his younger years he had always found incredible sweetness in the name of Jesus, which he had constantly in his heart, and which he repeated most affectionately in his last moments. In his agony he did not lie down, but sat in a chair, sometimes leaning upon his hand, and sometimes he stood up. At length, fainting away, without any contortions or convulsions he calmly expired, never seeming to interrupt those holy exercises which conducted his happy soul to the company of the blessed, there to continue the same praises, world without end. St. Edmund died at Soissy, near Provins in Champagne, on the 16th of November, 1242, having been archbishop eight years.

Many miraculous cures wrought through his intercession, proclaimed his power with God in the kingdom of his glory, and the saint was canonized by Pope Innocent V., in 1246. In 1247, his body was taken up, and found entire, and the joints flexible. These precious relics remain to this day the glory of that monastery, which, from our saint, is called St. Edmund's of Pontigny. Dom. Martenne, the learned Maurist monk, tells us, that he saw and examined his body which is perfectly without the least sign of corruption. The head is seen naked through a crystal glass; the rest of the body is covered. The color of the flesh is very white. It is placed above the high altar, in a shrine of wood with gold on it. In the treasury at Pontiguy, St. Edmund's pastoral ring, chalice, and paten, also his chasuble, or vestment, in which he said mass, are all on display. Martenne adds, that the conservation of this sacred body free from corruption, is evidently miraculous, and cannot be ascribed to any embalming for more than five hundred years, without any change even in the color. Several miracles, wrought through this saint's intercession, were authentically approved and attested by many English bishops, "Numberless miracles have been performed by his invocation since his death". He had a sincere spirit of humility, meekness, patience, obedience, compunction, and self denial.

St. Edmund - Archbishop of Canterbury and Confessor died November 16, A D 1242

This saying is attributed to him: "To embrace a religious state is part of perfection, but to live imperfectly in it, is the most grievous damnation."

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