St. Amand (584-675 AD)
Amand, a bishop, is famous for founding monasteries and evangelizing much of Belgium. . .
Feast Day: February 6
Patron of hoteliers, vintners, brewers
Born in Poitou, a province in west-central France, Amand became a monk against his family’s wishes at the age of 20. He lived in complete solitude in a cell for the first 15 years of religious life, consuming only bread and water.
After a pilgrimage to Rome, he was consecrated a bishop (without a settled diocese) and sent as a missionary to preach the Gospel to the pagans in Ghent, the Flemish region of Belgium where the inhabitants were known for their hostility. Amand was beaten and thrown into a river. He persevered, however, and eventually won many converts to the faith.
Amand founded monasteries throughout ancient Belgium. He reportedly once brought a hanged criminal back to life, which led many to conversion. He served briefly as the bishop of Maastricht, a diocese rampant with disorder, heresies and disobedient clerics. Amand received special instructions from Pope Martin I to remedy the situation. The Pope commissioned him to call councils in central Europe in order to implement decrees enacted in Rome.
Amand also helped St. Gertrude and her mother St. Itta establish a famous Benedictine monastery at Nivelles. When Amand was in his 70s, Catholics from the Basque region begged him to return. His missionary efforts there 30 years earlier had been unsuccessful. This time his efforts in the region were met with great success. On his return from the second round of preaching in the Basque country, Amand founded more monasteries.
He died at 90 years old in one of his own monasteries, later renamed St. Amand Abbey. He is considered the “apostle of Belgium.” Amand is the patron of brewers, innkeepers, bartenders, vine growers and merchants. This great missionary saint is also a patron of the Boy Scouts.
This column is produced for Legatus by the Dead Theologians Society, a Catholic apostolate for high school age teens and college age young adults. On the web: deadtheologianssociety.com