21 July – Saint Arbogast of Strasbourg
Bishop of Strasbourg, Missionary, Monk, Hermit, Confessor,
miracle-worker. Born as Arascach (Irish) in the 7th century in Ireland
and died in 678 in Strasbourg of natural causes. Patronage – St
Arbogast is the Principal Patron of the Diocese and City of
Strasbourg. The Roman Martyrology states: “At Strasbourg, St
Arbogastus, a Bishop, renowned for miracles.”
We have very little historical information of his life, other than
that he came to France, lived as a Hermit quickly gathering a
reputation for wisdom and holiness. He was then appointed Bishop of
Strasbourg and is venerated as the saint who brought Christianity to
the Alsace. Because of this, the Christian name “Arbogast” became
especially popular in the region. His origin is generally believed to
According to the vita, a 10th-century hagiographical account of his
life, Arbogast found a warm friend in the King Dagobert II of
Austrasia, who reigned between 673-679. On Dagobert’s accession,
Arbogast was appointed Bishop of Strasbourg and was famed for sanctity
Still according to the vita, Arbogast brought back to life Dagobert’s
son, Siegebert, who had been killed by a fall from his horse.
Siegebert had been boar hunting with his father’s huntsmen in forests
and became separated from the others. He encountered a boar and his
startled horse reared, throwing him and trampling him while his foot
was caught in his stirrup. His companions found him and took him home,
where he died the next day. King Dagobert summoned Arbogast, and the
holy man prayed to Mary, Mother of God – as she had carried the life
of the entire world, would she not intercede for the life of this one
boy? Siegebert stood up in his burial shroud. When the King offered
Bishop Arbogast money in reward, he declined, suggesting instead, that
land be donated to build a Cathedral at Strasbourg.
His life as a Hermit in the forest of Haguenau is the domain of
legend. But what is true is that the great Bishop Arbogast, installed
throughout his territory, Monasteries intended to shine the light of
the Gospel in the pagan countryside: – let us mention the Abbey of
Surbourg, in the forest of ‘Haguenau and, near Strasbourg, an Abbey
which will later bear the name of our saintly Bishop.
Knowing that “it is the Lord who builds up the city,” he put his hope
in the prayers of his Monks. Arbogast himself had a great devotion to
Saint Martin of Tours, to whom he dedicated, the Monastery of
For six years, he was thus the Good Shepherd of his Church, filled
with divine Wisdom, holy virility and fatherly goodness. He spoke the
Word of God in the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus his Church
experienced a true Christian renewal, he himself deserved to enter
into the joy of his Lord as a good and faithful servant and to receive
from Christ, the Prince of Shepherds, the incorruptible crown of glory
According to the vita, he died in 678. His body was buried in the City
cemetery and near his grave stood a Chapel, which he had dedicated to
Saint Michael. Later, his relics were transferred in part to the
Saint-Arbogast Monastery, near Strasbourg, where his memory is
celebrated every year as a Monk and Bishop of great holiness and
miracles. St Arbogast appears on the Coat of Arms of Batzendorf and
today, on his Feast, a special Mass, granted by the Holy Father, is
celebrated in his honour.
O God, you wanted Blessed Arbogast, Your confessor and Pontiff,
to become wholeheartedly,
he model of his flock;
grant us to realise,
under his protection in our deeds,
what he taught by the word of his mouth.
It is important that you choose your career with care, so that you may
really follow the vocation that God has destined for you. No day
should pass without some prayer to this end. Often repeat with St.
Paul: "Lord, what will you have me do?
--St. John Bosco
Amen, amen, I say to you: He that entereth not by the door into the
sheepfold but climbeth up another way, the same is a thief and a
robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the
sheep. To him the porter openeth: and the sheep hear his voice. And he
calleth his own sheep by name and leadeth them out. And when he hath
let out his own sheep, he goeth before them: and the sheep follow him,
because they know his voice. But a stranger they follow not, but fly
from him, because they know not the voice of strangers. (Joh 10:1-5)
Dear God, give me courage,
or perhaps I lack it more than anything else.
I need courage before men against their threats
and against their seductions.
I need courage to bear unkindness,
I need courage to fight against the devil,
against terrors and troubles, temptations,
attractions, darkness and false lights,
against tears, depression, and above all fear.
I need Your help, dear God.
Strengthen me with Your love and Your grace.
Console me with Your blessed Presence
and grant me the courage to persevere
until I am with You forever in heaven. Amen.