Spirituality for Today – July 2016 – Volume 20, Issue 12

Saint of the Month
St. Placidus - July 11

A painting of Saint PlacidusSaint Placidus

In the early eighth century, Placidus was a rich lawyer who owned a good deal of land. He was a close friend and supporter of Sigisbert, a Frankish monk at the abbey of Luxeuil in France. When Sigisbert decided to establish a hermitage at Disentis, Switzerland, his spiritual student Placidus donated the land. The hermitage became a gathering place for Sigisbert's followers.

It seemed likely that the abbey would develop into a monastery, but the region's ruler refused because he wanted to rid his territory of Frankish influence. In about 720, the ruler silenced Placidus, who had argued favorably for a monastery, by having him murdered. Sigisbert, too, died a short while later. Around 750, a monastery was established at the place where Placidus was killed.

After their deaths, Placidus and Sigisbert became subjects of a popular cult. Their remains were delivered to a new tomb in the crypt of St. Martin's church. A grille surrounding the tomb allowed people to reach in and touch the tomb as well as to place objects on it to be blessed.

In 940, to protect the relics of Placidus and Sigisbert from Saracen raiders, the monks moved them to Zurich, thus spreading their cult even further. The relics were rediscovered in 1498. However, they were almost completely destroyed when the French invaded the area some 300 years later.

The Benedictine monastery that was built where Placidus was killed still exists today.

If there is any encouragement in Christ,
any solace in love,
any participation in the Spirit,
any compassion and mercy,
complete my joy by being of the same mind,
with the same love,
united in heart,
thinking one thing.
Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vain glory;
rather, humbly regard others
as more important than yourselves,
each looking out not for his own interests,
but also everyone for those of others.

The Letter of Paul to the Philippians (Phil 2: 1-4)

From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives.