Rev. Alban Butler (171173). Volume IV: April. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.
St. Hugh, Abbot of Cluni, Confessor
HE was a prince related to the sovereign house of the dukes of Burgundy, and had his education under the tuition of his pious mother, and under the care of Hugh, bishop of Auxerre, his great uncle. From his infancy he was exceedingly given to prayer and meditation, and his life was remarkably innocent and holy. The world he always looked upon as a tempestuous sea, worked up by the storms of human passions, and concealing rocks and shelves everywhere under its boisterous waves. In obedience to the will of his father, he learned the exercises of fencing and riding. But one day hearing an account of the wonderful sanctity of the monks of Cluni, under St. Odilo, he was so moved, that he set out that moment, and going thither, humbly begged the monastic habit. After a rigid novitiate, he made his profession in 1039, being sixteen years old. His extraordinary virtue, especially his admirable humility, obedience, charity, sweetness, prudence, and zeal, gained him the respect of the whole community; and, upon the death of St. Odilo, in 1049, though only twenty-five years old, he succeeded to the government of that great abbey, which he held sixty-two years. He received to the religious profession, Hugh, duke of Burgundy, and died on the 29th of April, in 1109, aged eighty-five.1 He was canonized twelve years after his death by Pope Calixtus II. See his life written in the same age, by Hildebert, bishop of Mans, afterwards archbishop of Tours, among his works published by Dom. Beaugendre, in 1705; also in Papebroke, 29 Apr. p. 628 and 658. See likewise Ceillier, t. 21, p. 353; Mabil. l. 71; Annal. Bened. and t. p. 9. Actor.
Note 1. Several of the letters of St. Hugh of Cluni are extant. In one to William the Conqueror, who had offered him for his house one hundred pounds for every monk he would send into England, he answered that he would give that sum himself for every good monk he could procure for his monastery, if such a thing were to be purchased. The true reason of his refusal was, his fear of the monks he should send falling into relaxations by living in monasteries not reformed. He left many wise statutes for his monks, and others for the nuns of Marcigni, of which monastery he was the founder. See them published by Dom. Marrier, and H. Duchesne, in their Bibliotheca Cluniacensis, p. 500. [back]