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July 4

Saint Ulric of Augsburg - Oil painting by Leonhard Beck

Saint Ulric of Augsburg

Bishop, Confessor

(Around 890 – 973)

“Take away the fuel, and you take away the fire.

Saint Ulric of Augsburg

Saint’s Life Story

Born into Nobility 

Ulric was born around 890 in Kyburg, Zurich, Switzerland.  He was the son of Count Hucpald and Thetbirga. Ulric was connected with the dukes of Alamannia and the imperial family of the Ottos. As a child he was sickly; when old enough to learn he was sent to the monastic school of St. Gall, where he proved to be an excellent scholar.


Ulric resolved to enter the priesthood. However, he was in doubt whether to enter the Benedictine Abbey of St. Gall or to become a secular priest. For further training in 910, Ulric was sent to Adalbero, Bishop of Augsburg, who made him a chamberlain. On Adalbero’s death in April 28, 910, Ulric returned home. Here, he remained until the death of Bishop Hiltine on November 28, 923.

Bishop of Augsburg

Through the influence of his uncle, Duke Burchard of Alamannia, Ulric was appointed Bishop of Augsburg by King Henry. He was consecrated on December 28, 923. Ulric proved himself to be a ruler who united severity with gentleness. He sought to improve the low moral and social condition of the clergy.

Adhered to Church Laws

Ulric also sought to enforce a rigid adherence to the laws of the Church. He hoped to gain this end by periodical visitations,  by building as many churches as possible, and by making the blessings of religion more accessible to the common people. His success was largely due to the good example he set his clergy and diocese. For the purpose of obtaining relics he went on two journeys to Rome, in 910, and in 952 or 953.

High Moral Standard

Ulric demanded a high moral standard of himself and others. A hundred years after his death, a letter apparently written by him, which opposed celibacy, and supported the marriage of priests, suddenly appeared. The forger of the letter counted on the opinion of the common people, who would regard celibacy as unjust if St. Ulric, known for the rigidity of his morals, upheld the marriage of priests (cf. “Analecta Boll.”, XXVII, 1908, 474; against the letter, H. Thurston, “A Saint averse to Celibacy”, in “The Month”, CXI, 1908, 311-13).

Loyal to Emperor

Ulric was also steadfastly loyal, as a prince of the empire, to the emperor. He was one of the most important props of the Ottonian policy, which rested mainly upon the ecclesiastical princes. He constantly attended the judicial courts held by the king and in the diets. He even took part in the Diet held on September 20, 972, when he defended himself against the charge of nepotism in regard to his nephew Adalbero, whom he had appointed his coadjutor on account of his own illness and desire to retire to a Benedictine abbey.


During the struggle between Otto I and his son, Duke Ludolf of Swabia, Ulric had much to suffer from Ludolf and his partisans. In the summer of 954 when father and son were ready to attack each other at Illertissen in Swabia, at the last moment Ulric and Bishop Hartbert of Chur were able to mediate between them. Ulric succeeded in persuading Ludolf and Konrad, Otto’s son-in-law, to ask the king’s pardon on December 17, 954.

Maygars Enter Germany

Before long the Magyars entered Germany, plundering and burning as they went, and advanced as far as Augsburg, which they besieged with the fury of barbarians. It was due to Ulric’s ability and courage that Augsburg was able to hold out against the besiegers until the Emperor Otto arrived. On August 10, 955, a battle was fought in the Lechfeld, and the invaders were finally defeated. The later assertion that Ulric himself took part in the battle is incorrect.   Ulric could not have broken through the ranks of the Magyars, who were south of him, although north of the emperor. St. Wolfgang was ordained in 968 by Ulric, who sent him with a party of monks to preach to the Magyars of Hungary, whose resistance to the faith was a threat to the Empire.

His Death

As morning dawned on July 4, 973, Ulric had ashes strewn on the ground in the shape of a cross. The cross was sprinkled with holy water. Ulric was placed upon it. His nephew, Richwin, came with a message and greeting from the Emperor Otto II as the sun rose, and immediately upon this, while the clergy sang the Litany, St. Ulric passed away. His body was placed in the Church of St. Afra, which had been rebuilt by him. The burial was performed by Bishop Wolfgang of Ratisbon. Many miracles were wrought at his grave; and in 993, he was canonized by John XV. St Ulric was the first saint to be canonized by a Pope, rather than by a local authority.

Beatified:           N/A

Canonized:        July 4, 993 by John XV

Feast Day:         July 4

Patron Saint:    Against Dizziness or Vertigo, Augsburg, Germany; Pregnant Women



Saint Ulric passed the greater part of the night in prayer, and during the day he assisted at all the offices of the church. Have you ever passed, I will not say the greater, but only a small part of the night in prayer? Ah! you are too indolent to pray even in the day. In the day-time, you appear but seldom at Holy Mass, and other devotional exercises; what then can be expected from you at night? You say that sleep and household cares prevent you; and yet I know that you often amuse yourself in idle gossip, gambling to a late hour. I know that during the day you spend many an hour in frivolous visits or in other similar ways. Sleep and household duties do not prevent this. Why do you then make them a pretext when it concerns praying? You evidently do not comprehend the necessity of prayer. At least do not neglect it in the morning and evening. Give to God and to your soul, if possible, a half an hour and during the day turn your thoughts sometimes towards heaven by pious exclamations. 

Is it possible for you to give to God at least 10 minutes of prayer each day and/or evening? Try to remove 10 minutes of fruitless activities in your life, such as gossiping ot watching TV, and give that time to God in prayer.

Adapted from Father Francis Xavier Weninger, DD, SJ. “Saint Ulric, Bishop of Augsburg”. Lives of the Saints, 1876. From:


Father, you are rich in mercy;
in a time of severe hardship
you sent your people
the energetic Bishop St Ulrich.
We ask you, through his prayers,
to weather the dangers and perils
of our present times
by the strength and power of our Faith. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Glorious St Ulrich,
as a bishop, you were ceaseless in your efforts to preserve and strengthen your diocese.
Help me to recognize the efficacy of prayer and the necessity of action.

St. Ulric of Augsburg, pray for us. Amen.

Source: Novena to Saint Ulrich. (

Saint Links 

All Saints & Martyrs – Saint Ulric of Augsburg – Bishop of Augsburg

Anastpaul – Saint Ulric of Augsburg – Ulrich, Saint

Catholic News Agency – St. Ulric of Augsburg

Catholic Online – St. Ulric – Bulter’s Live of the Saints – Saint Ulric, Bishop of Augsburg, Confessor

New Advent – St Ulrich from the Catholic Encylopedia


Video Link

St. Ulric of Augsburg – YouTube (St. Malachy Catholic Church)

St. Ulric of Augsburg – YouTube (Spark of Light)