SAINTS

APRIL 9: ST. LIBORIUS, BISHOP OF LE MANS

(c. 348–397)

Little is known of Liborius’ life. He was a Gaul, influenced by Latin culture. He is said to have been bishop of Le Mans for 49 years, for which he built some churches.

His missionary activity probably was limited to the Gaul of his time. He is said to have ordained, during 96 ordinations, 217 priests and 186 deacons. St. Martin of Tours assisted him when he was dying. He was buried in the Apostle Basilica of Le Mans, beside his predecessor, Julian, the founder of the bishopric.

Miracles are said to have occurred at his tomb. In 835, Bishop Aldrich placed some relics of his body into an altar in the cathedral, and in the following year, on the instructions of Emperor Louis the Pious, sent the body to Bishop Badurad of Paderborn, a diocese founded in 799 by Pope Leo III and Emperor Charlemagne that had no saint of its own.

From this arose a “love bond of lasting brotherhood” that has survived all the hostilities of the succeeding centuries and is considered the oldest contract still in force. Both churches bound themselves to help each other by prayer and material assistance, as they have in fact done on more than one occasion.

In view of the power that veneration of St. Liborius has had in binding peoples together, Archbishop Johannes Joachim Degenhardt of Paderborn established in 1977 the St. Liborius Medal for Unity and Peace, which is conferred every five years on someone who has contributed to the unity of Europe on Christian principles.

Since Liborius died in the arms of his friend Martin of Tours, he is looked to as a patron of a good death. Since the 13th century he is prayed to for assistance against gallstones that are caused by the water of the limestone area. The first account of a healing of this kind concerns the cure of Archbishop Werner von Eppstein, who came on pilgrimage to the saint’s shrine in 1267. This is the origin of the saint’s attribute of three stones placed on a copy of the Bible. In the same period, he became the patron of the cathedral and the archdiocese, rather than the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Kilian, who were previously in first place. He is patron of peace and understanding among peoples. He is invoked against colic, fever and gallstones.

Adapted by A.J. Valentini from: Online, C. (n.d.). St. Liborius of Le Mans – Saints & Angels. Catholic Online. Retrieved March 30, 2021, from https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=4283