Friday, July 1, 2011

Theobald of Vicenza, Hermit

Today we commemorate Theobald. He was born at Provins to French nobility. According to Wikipedia:

As a youth, he admired the lives of hermits such as St. John the Baptist, of St. Paul the hermit, St. Anthony the Great, and St. Arsenius and he would also visit a local hermit named Burchard, who lived on an island in the Seine. He refused to get married or begin a career in the army or at court. When war broke out between Theobald’s cousin Odo II, Count of Blois and Conrad the Salic over the Burgundian crown, Theobald refused to lead troops to help his cousin and convinced his father to let him become a hermit. Theobald left home with a friend named Walter to become a hermit at Sussy in the Ardennes. They then traveled to Pettingen, where they worked as day laborers. They became pilgrims on the Way of St. James and afterwards returned to the diocese of Trier. They made a pilgrimage to Rome and planned to go to the Holy Land by way of Venice. However, Walter fell ill near Salanigo near Vicenza. They decided to settle there. After Walter died, Theobald became the leader of a group of hermits who had gathered there.The bishop of Vicenza ordained him as priest. Theobald's background, however, was soon discovered and his parents came to visit him. His mother, Gisela, eventually became a hermitess near this place of retreat. Theobald died from an illness in which his skin of every limb was covered over in blotches and ulcers. Shortly before his death he became a Camaldolese monk.

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