Waldtraud 2009-10-02 21:31:42
September 28th – St. Lioba of Bischoffsheim, Abbess, Virgin
Also known as (Liobgytha)
Born at Wimborne, Dorsetshire, England; died at Schornsheim (near Mainz),
Germany, c. 779.
Saint Lioba’s mother, descended of an illustrious family and closely related
Saint Boniface (f.d. June 5), had been barren for a long time before the
was born. Nevertheless, Ebba immediately offered her to God and raised her
piety. She received her first education at Minster-in-Thanet. While Lioba
still young, she was placed in the care of the king’s sister Saint Tetta
today) at the Benedictine convent in Wimborne (Winburn or “fountain of
Lioba matured spiritually and emotionally under Tetta’s tutelage, and
took the religious veil.
Tetta also ensured that she had a good education. Letters to Boniface reveal
the divine precepts of the Old and New Testaments, the principal canons of
Church, the holy maxims of the Fathers, and the rules of the monastic life.
Boniface kept in touch with his young relative through frequent
Recognising her virtue and abilities, in 748, he requested of her bishop and
abbess that she be sent to him with about 30 pious companions to undertake
charitable work with women in Germany. Although Tetta regretted the loss of
protege, she could not refuse.
Upon their arrival in Germany, Boniface settled the women religious at
Tauberbischofsheim (“bishop’s home,” possibly his own previous residence).
Lioba’s zeal attracted so many vocations that her convent was populating
other foundations throughout the country. Lioba’s convents were one of the
powerful factors in the conversion of Germany.
The saint organized her convents in the true monastic tradition with a
combination of manual labour (in scriptorium, kitchen, bakery, brewery, and
garden), intellectual study (all had to learn Latin), community devotions,
leisure. No extreme austerities were permitted to interfere with the
life established by the Rule.
Her love of God was so appealing. She was always ready to set her hand to
task she might ask of others and did it with cheer and modesty. It is said
she was beautiful, that her countenance was angelic, and that her nuns loved
her. Perhaps this is so because Lioba took to heart Saint Paul’s advice: “Do
nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others
more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3) and “anticipate one
showing honour” (Romans 12:9b). Thus, Lioba often washed the feet of her
in emulation of her Lord. The corporal acts of mercy were her delight,
especially extending hospitality to strangers and caring for the poor. She
always patient, kind, and accessible to all who needed her.
Nevertheless, kings and princes honoured and respected her, especially Pepin
Short, Blessed Carloman (f.d. August 17) and Charlemagne. Charlemagne often
called her to court at Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen) to seek her advice. His
Blessed Hildegard (f.d. April 30), loved her deeply and always heeded her
advice, as did some of the bishops.
Before his martyrdom, Saint Boniface commended Lioba and her community to
care of Saint Lullus (f.d. October 16) and his monks at Fulda, and requested
that her bones be buried next to his at their deaths that they might be
at the resurrection and spend eternity together. It is said that the tender
affection uniting Boniface and Lioba forms one of the most charming episodes
church history. Following Boniface’s death in 754, Lioba frequently visited
Fulda. By special dispensation, she would be allowed with two elder sisters
join in the choir.
Upon the advice of Lullus, Lioba resigned her offices in her old age and
to the convent at Schornsheim, where she redoubled her prayer and penance.
Occasionally she would answer Empress Hildegard’s plea to visit her, but
to her cell as quickly as she could. On her last visit, she embraced the
kissed her on her garment, forehead, and mouth, then said: “Farewell,
part of my soul; may Christ, our Creator and Redeemer, grant that we may see
each other without confusion in the day of judgement.”
After her death, Lioba was interred at Fulda, on the north side of the high
altar, near the tomb of Saint Boniface. Her tomb was honoured with miracles;
biographer, Rudolph of Fulda, assures us he was himself an eyewitness to
several. Her relics were translated in 819 and again in 838 to the church of
Mount Saint Peter. Her name was first inserted into a martyrology by
Maurus c. 836 (Attwater2, Benedictines, Bonniwell, Coulson, Farmer,
There is a beauty of form, a dignity of language, a sublimity of diction
are, so to speak, spontaneous, and are the natural outcome of great
strong convictions, and glowing feelings. The Fathers [of the Church] often
attain to this eloquence without intending to do so, without
and all unconsciously.
-St. Augustine (354-430)
1 An ancient man rebuke not, but entreat him as a father: young men, as
brethren: 2 Old women, as mothers: young women, as sisters, in all chastity.
Honour widows, that are widows indeed. (1 Tim 5:1-3)
Grant, O Lord, that what we have taken with our mouth, we may receive with a
pure mind; and that from a temporal gift it may become for us an everlasting
May Your Body, O Lord, which I have received and Your Blood which I have
drunk, cleave to my inmost parts, and grant that no stain of sin remain in
me; whom these pure and holy Sacraments have refreshed. Who lives and reigns
world without end. – Amen.
From Lamb of God Prayer Book
O burning mountain, O chosen sun,
O perfect moon, O fathomless well,
O unattainable height, O clearness beyond measure,
O wisdom without end, O mercy without limit,
O strength beyond resistance, O crown of all majesty,
the humblest you created sings your praise.
Mechtild of Magdeburg (1207-1294)