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Saint Adalhard of Corbie

Public domain image of Saint Adalhard of Corbie

St. Adalhard of Corbie, Benedictine Abbot

Also known as Adelard; Adalhard; Adelhard; Adalardus; Adelardus; Alard

Born: 753 or 751

Died: 02 Jan 827 at Corbie Monastery, Picardy, France

Canonized: 1024 by Pope John XIX

Feast: 02 Jan

Patronage: against fever, against typhoid, against typhus, gardeners. Several towns in France also made him their patron saint.

In art St. Adalhard is usually depicted as an abbot digging a garden with his crown lying nearby. He may also be shown as an angel crowns him with thorns; overcoming a dragon with IHS; or giving alms.

Adalhard was of royal lineage. His grandfather was Charles Martel and father was Bernard, the brother of Pepin. Because of this he was well-educated in the Court of Charlemagne. He received the title of count at a young age. He likely studied under Bl. Alcuin and, in 773 at the age of 20, became a monk at Corbie, Picardy, France, and later moved to Monte Cassino in the hopes of greater retirement.

Although he preferred the life of the monastery, he was brought to court by his cousin Charlemagne to become one of his advisers. He was chief minister to Charlemagne’s oldest son, Pepin, and when Pepin died in 810, Adalhard was named tutor of Pepin’s son Benard.

Bernard, Pepin’s son, accused Adalhard of supporting a revolt against Emperor Louis the Debonair (I didn’t make that name up) and was exiled to Hermoutier, an island off the coast of Aquitaine. In 821, after five years Louis decided he was innocent and recalled him to the court. Soon after he was again banished, this time to Corbie, where his reputation for holiness, austerity and concern for the poor and sick soon spread.

Adalhard, along with his brother Wala, established another monastery called New Corbie (Corway or Corvey) in Paderborn (Saxony?), and made both monasteries centers of learning and teaching, not just in Latin, but also in the German and French vernacular. Adalhard also established several hospitals during his lifetime.

A few days before Christmas of 826, Adalhard fell ill. He is said to have died about 3 o’clock in the afternoon on 01 Jan 827. He was 73 years old.

Text © 2018 Gary J. Sibio. All rights reserved.

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Written by Gary J Sibio

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