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April 22

St Opportuna of Montreuil - April 22

Saint Opportuna of Montreuil
Abbess
(Unknown – 770)

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Saint Opportuna of Montreuil

Her Early Years

Opportuna, also known as Opportune, was born on an unknown date at the castle of Exmes in Argentan, Normandy, France. Opportuna dedicated her life to serving God and became renowned for her faith and piety.

Veiled by Her Bishop Brother

At a young age, Opportuna entered the convent near Almenêches, France, where she received the veil from her brother, Saint Chrodegang of Séez, who was a bishop. She embraced the Benedictine way of life and committed herself to a life of prayer, contemplation, and service to others. Her devotion and humility inspired those around her. Quickly, Opportuna rose to become the abbess of the convent.

Legend

During Opportuna’s life in the convent, a peasant stole a donkey from her convent. But, he refused to admit his crime. Rather than seeking retribution, Opportuna turned to God, praying for justice to be served. Miraculously, the following day, the farmer’s field was unexpectedly sown with salt, signifying divine intervention. Witnessing this miraculous event, the peasant’s conscience was stirred. Swiftly, he returned the stolen donkey to the convent. In an act of profound remorse, he even donated his field to the nuns as a gesture of repentance.

Her Reputation

Opportuna’s reputation for holiness and her ability to intercede with God continued to grow. Many sought her guidance and sought her prayers for healing, deliverance, and forgiveness. Her life was marked by deep humility, compassion, and unwavering faith. As Abbess of Montreuil, Opportuna was never known to be angry. She was viewed, as a true mother to all her Nuns, correcting their faults with words, not blows.

Brother Murdered

Her brother, Saint Chrodegand, Bishop of Seez, went to Rome and Palestine for seven years. During this time, he entrusted his diocese and property to his kinsman Chrodobert, who enriched himself at the expense of the people and their absent Bishop. Opportuna prayed fervently for her brother’s return. As soon as he arrived in his native land, Saint Chrodegaud hastened to visit Opportuna. He was proceeding from Montreuil to Almeneches, where their aunt Saint Lantildis was abbess, when he was murdered half way between the two monasteries on September 3, 769. Saint Lantildis prayed that she might succeed in burying the saint in her own church. However, Opportuna when she heard of the murder, prayed that the body might remain where it was until she came to take it. The murdered Saint proved immovable until Opportuna arrived. When Opportuna arrived, she was able to carry him with her own hands to her church and bury him.

Her Death

The sudden loss of her beloved brother, Saint Chrodegang, contributed to her grief and weakened her health. Opportuna survived him less than a one year until tragically, she was stricken with a brief but severe illness, which ultimately claimed her life on April 22, 770 most likely in the convent at Montreuil, France.

After her death, her relics were initially taken to the priory of Moussy, France, in 1009. Subsequently, in 1374, her right arm and a rib were transferred to Paris, France, where a church was built in her honor. The Translation of a part of her relics to Paris has led to her being specially venerated in that city and even today, Saint Opportuna’s influence and sanctity continue to inspire devotion.

In art, Saint Opportuna is often depicted carrying an abbess’s crozier and a casket of relics.

Born :                   Unknown date in the castle of Exmes in Argentan, Normandy, France

Died:                    April 22, 770 in the convent at Montreuil, France

Beatified:            Pre-Congregation

Canonized:         Pre-Congregation

Feast Day:          April 22

Patron Saint:     Almenêches, France; Diocese of Séez, France; Montreuil-la-Cambe, France

Source:

Reflection 

Saint Opportuna of Montreuil’s sanctity was not expressed in charismatic actions during her lifetime. She did not perform any miracles during her lifetime. However, her life was marked by deep humility, compassion, and unwavering faith. She was a great example that allowed her to become Abbess to lead the nuns in her convent. As Christians, we are called to show others the truth about our faith through our words, arguments, and actions.

How do you typically act each day? Do your words and actions reflect your Christian beliefs like Saint Opportuna of Montreuil’s actions did? If not, how can you start today to demonstrate the love of Christ in your humility, love and compassion to others?

Prayers

Saint Opportuna of Montreuil,

You who inspired those around her with your devotion, we humbly ask for your prayers today.

May your example help us turn to God in prayer so that with his Grace we can instruments of justice, love, and compassion to those in need.

May we commit ourselves to a life of prayer, contemplation, and service to others.

Saint Opportuna, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

Bartleby – Rev. Alban Butler. Volume IV: April. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. St. Opportuna, Virgin and Abbess

Catholic News World – Saint April 22 : St. Opportuna : Virgin & Abbess

Catholic Online – St. Opportuna

CatholicSaints.Info – Saints of the Day – Opportuna of Montreuil, Abbess – by Katherine I Rabenstein

Melanie Rigney – Opportuna of Montreuil

Saint Mary’s Press – Saint Opportuna (d.770)

Video Link

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