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August 25

St Yrieix - August Picture Attribution: (19th century print, [Public Domain] via Creative Commons and the Rijksmuseum)

Saint Yrieix

Bishop of Attane

(Around 510 – 591)

“My power is slight; but if it pleases you, I have oil from the tomb of the blessed Martin who poured out this oil. If you believe in his great power, you will drink salvation from this oil.”

Saint Yrieix

Saint’s Life Story

His Early Life

Yrieix, also known as Aredius of Limoges, was born around 510 in Limoges, France. He was the eldest of three children, all of whom were born into the upper crust of Limousin society. His father, Jucundus was from a powerful Gallo-Roman family while his mother Pélagie was related to the son of Clovis. As a young boy, Yrieix received his education from the Abbot Sebastian of the monastery at Vigeois.  In his adolescence, Yrieix was sent to the court of Theodebert I of Austrasia to be educated. By 540, Yrieix was appointed the king’s chancellor. 

Saint Nicetius, Bishop of Trier

There, Yrieix came to be known to the Bishop of Trier, Saint Nicetius, who persuaded Yrieix to leave the dissolute life at court as a chancellor. According to Saint Gregory of Tours, one day, while the clerics sang psalms in the church, a dazzling white dove, after flying around Yrieix, landed on his head, as if to show that he was already filled with the Holy Spirit. As Yrieix was a little shy, he waved it away. The white dove flittered a little before landing on its shoulder, following him all the way to the bishop’s house.

Returned to Limousin

Upon the death of his father, Yrieix returned to the Limousin to care for his mother. He entrusted to her the management of his estates. Then, Yrieix became a hermit and lived at La Rochette, a small cave located in Attanum, just thirty kilometers south of Limoges. His mother, Pelagia, died in 572. Years fter her death, Yrieix founded a small religious community of his own in Attanum, composed of a monastery with two churches, Saint-Julien and Sainte-Hilaire, as well as an oratory, Saint-Maximin. .  Yrieix was the first abbot of the monastery.  The earliest monks were members of his own household. Yrieix bequeathed his wealth to, among other beneficiaries, the church of Saint Martin of Tours.

His Work

Yrieix performed numerous pilgrimages to major sites such as Tours, Puy, and Poitiers. On these trips, Yrieix made a name for himself through befriending many esteemed figures of the sixth-century Limousin: the monk Fortunat (future bishop of Poitiers), Queen Saint Radegonde (founder of the monastery of Sainte-Croix, and most importantly, Saint Gregory of Tours, who ended up chronicling parts of Yrieix’s life. Saint Gregory of Tours included Yrieix in three of his works Historiae (sometimes known as Historia Francorum, ‘History of the Franks’), Lives of the Fathers and Glories of the Martyrs.

Miracle Through Saint Martin of Tours

Yrieix came to Saint Martin of Tours festival on November 11, 583, with his usual kindness, humility, and love. Upon his departure, he took with him a small jar filled with oil from the holy tomb and said: “Perhaps on my journey there is some ill person who is anguished in his heart and desires to receive a blessing from the shrine of the blessed Martin.” Then, in another place a pious woman approached him, held out another container filled with oil, and said: “Servant of Christ, I ask you to sanctify this oil with your blessing.” But Yrieix, lest he appear to be overcome by arrogance, said: “My power is slight; but if it pleases you, I have oil from the tomb of the blessed Martin who poured out this oil. If you believe in his great power, you will drink salvation from this oil.” The woman rejoiced and sought to do what the priest recommended. Yrieix’s container was half-full. After he poured out some of the liquid that had been taken from the saint’s church, immediately the oil bubbled up and filled the container to the top. Once the woman saw this, she marveled at the power of the blessed confessor and returned home rejoicing. (This rough vita was constructed from informative pamphlets from the church of St. Yrieix in St.-Yrieix-la-Perche, which compile various parts of Saint Gregory of Tours’ texts mentioning Yrieix).

His Death

Yrieix died on the August 25, 591. His body was buried in the basilica of Sainte-Hilaire, probably the location of the church that now bears his name. Yrieix continued to perform miracles posthumously—so many, in fact, that the town of Attane eventually acquired the name Saint Yrieix. Miracle stories began to be associated with him. People in the area believed him to have the gift of healing. 

Born:                   Around 510 in Limoges, France

Died:                    August 25, 591 in St. Yrieix, France

Beatified:           Pre-Congregation

Canonized:        Pre-Congregation

Feast Day:         August 25

Patron Saint:    None

Source:

Reflection

Saint Yrieix ‘s faith was foremost when he he took with him a small jar filled with oil from the holy tomb and said: “Perhaps on my journey there is some ill person who is anguished in his heart and desires to receive a blessing from the shrine of the blessed Martin.” Like Jesus did during his life, St Yrieix was able to help a pious woman (maybe not how she initially thought he would) who asked “Servant of Christ, I ask you to sanctify this oil with your blessing.”  Rather then sanctify her oil, St Yrieix replaced her oil with his oil from St. Martin of Tours tomb. After he poured out some of the liquid to the pious women, immediately the oil bubbled up and filled the container to the top. 

What “oils” do you need in your life today to be sanctified? Remember that God can over flow you cup with whatever you need and also remember that God may fill your cup in ways you may not think of. All you need to do is pray these needs to him. 

Prayers

St. Yrieix, we ask for your intercession so that we may follow your example of kindness, humility and love in all our daily acts. May we always pray to Jesus to fill us with the grace, wisdom, and strength to do his will every day.

St Yrieix, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

Catholic Online – St Yrieix

CatholicSaints.Info – Saint Aredius of Limoges

Miracle of St Yrieix (Aredius)

Saint Yrieix (Aredius)

The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity – Gregory of Tours, Histories

The Historian’s Hut – The Tale Of Saint Aredius And His Persistent Pet Dove

Wikipedia – Aredius

Video Link