Sunday, June 20, 2010


St. Amand and the Blind Woman of Ressons

Life of St. Amand, tr. by J.N. Hillgarth in The Conversion of Western Europe, 350-750 (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1969), rpt. as Christianity and Paganism, 350-750: The Conversion of Western Europe (Philadelpha: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986), pp. 139-148 (at 147-148):
[24] The faithful testimony of the venerable priest Erchangelisus should not be passed over. When the man of God Amand was preaching in the county of Beauvais he came to a place called Ressons on the River Aronde. There was a blind woman there, who had lost her sight a long time ago. Entering her house the man of God began to ask her how this blindness had come upon her. She replied that the only reason was that she had always venerated auguries and idols. She then indicated the place where she used to pray to her idol, a tree dedicated to the demon. The man of God said: "I am not amazed that you became blind for this folly but I wonder that the mercy of God has sustained you so long. For when you should adore your Creator and Redeemer, you adore demons and dumb idols, who cannot do you or themselves any service. Now take an axe and cut down this abominable tree by which you have lost your bodily sight and your soul's salvation. I trust that, if you firmly believe, you may receive the sight you once had from the Lord." With her daughter leading her by the hand the woman hastened to the tree and endeavored to cut it down. Then the man of God called her to him, made the Sign of the Cross on her eyes and, invoking Christ's Name, restored her to her former health, instructed her how she should act, and left her. Changing her life for the better, she spent the rest of her days chastely and soberly.
Latin text of Vita S. Amandi, ed. B. Krusch, in Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptorum Rerum Merovingicarum Tomus V (Hannover: Hahn, 1910), pp. 428-449 (at 447):
[24] Nec illud quoque preatereundum putavi, quod, presbitero quodam nomen Erchengiliso venerabili atque fideli viro narrante, didici. Quadam die, dum vir Domini Amandus in pago Belloacinse verbum Domini praedicaret, pervenit ad quendam locum, cui vocabulum est Rosonto, secus Oronnam fluvium, eratque ibi mulier quaedam caeca, quae longo iam tempore, amisso lumine, nil praeter tenebras agnoverat. Ingressus autem vir Dei domum illius, coepit percunctari ab ea, qualiter ei haec caecitas evenisset. Respondente illa, quod non ob causam aliam ei ipsa caecitas evenerat, nisi quod auguria vel idola semper coluerat, insuper ostendente ei locum, in quo praedictum idolum orare consueverat, scilicet arborem, quae erat daemoni dedicata, vir Domini ait: 'Non miror, si pro hac stultitia caeca facta sis, sed admiror clementiam Domini, qui te tamdiu exspectando sustenat, ut, cum factorem et redemptorem tuum adorare debeas, adoras daemones et idola muta, quae nec tibi nec sibi possunt prodesse. Nunc igitur accipe securim et hanc nefandam arborem quantotius succidere festina, per quam et lumen amisisti corporis et animae perdidisti salutem; confido enim, si firmiter credideris, lumen pristinum a Domino consequi possis. Educente autem illa puellae suae manibus, ad arborem citius mulier perrexit atque eam excidere conabatur. Tum vir Domini Amandus eam ad se advocans, signum crucis super oculos eius inprimens, invocatoque Christi nomine, pristinae reddidit sanitati; instructamque, qualiter se agere deberet, relinquens, omnibus diebus vitae suae caste atque sobrie se exhibuit, et correctiorem vitam deinceps gerens, moresque commutavit in melius.
Saint Amand, patron saint of brewers, lived from approximately 584 to 675.


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