Lives of the Saints

Our Models and Protectors

September 9
  

Saint Omer

Bishop of Therouanne
(† 670)

Saint Omer
Saint Omer

Saint Omer was born toward the close of the sixth century in the territory of Constance. His parents, who were noble and wealthy, paid great attention to his education, but, above all, strove to inspire him with a love for virtue. Upon the death of his mother he entered the monastery of Luxeuil and persuaded his father to accompany him, which he did after they sold their worldly goods and distributed the proceeds among the poor. The father and son made their religious profession together. The humility, obedience, mildness and devotion, together with the admirable purity of intention which shone forth in every action of Saint Omer, distinguished him even among his saintly brethren.

He was soon called from his monastic retreat, chosen to take charge of the government of the Church in Therouanne, an ancient diocese of the region of Arras. The greater number of the inhabitants of the region were still pagans, and even the few Christians, through a scarcity of priests, had lapsed regrettably. The great and difficult work of their conversion was reserved for Saint Omer. The holy bishop applied himself to his task with such efficacious zeal that in a short time his diocese became one of the most flourishing in France. A pagan overlord who had persecuted the Christians could not resist his exhortations, and after his baptism gave large grants to the church; on one of those terrains the bishop built a monastery in honor of the Blessed Virgin.

After governing his church for nearly thirty years, Saint Omer in his old age became blind, but that affliction did not lessen his pastoral concern for his flock. He died in the odor of sanctity while on a pastoral visit, in the year 670.

Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler's Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).