St. Volusian

BISHOP

Feast: January 18
 

Information:

Feast Day: January 18
Died 496

 

Volusian was bishop of Tours, in France, the see made famous by St. Martin two centuries earlier. He lived at a time before clerical celibacy had been enforced in the West and was married to a woman famous for her violent temper, which was a great trial to the bishop. He also lived in a time when the barbarian invasions had begun and the fear of the Goths was everywhere.
In writing to a friend of his, a certain Bishop Ruricius, of nearby Limoges, St. Volusian expressed his fear of the Goths who were beginning to terrorize his diocese. Ruricius humorously replied that someone who lived with terror inside his house, meaning his wife, should have no fear of terrors from the outside.

Volusian was of senatorial rank, very wealthy, a relative of the bishop who preceded him, St. Perpetuus, and he lived in the days when Clovis was king of the Franks, the avowed enemy of the Goths.

As the Goths began to overrun Volusian's diocese, they suspected him of sympathies with Clovis and of wanting to subject them to the Franks, so Volusian was driven from his see and sent into exile.

He held the office of bishop in a very difficult time, when the whole of Western Europe was in turmoil, in the wake of the barbarian invasions from the East. Cities were sacked, government disrupted, and bishops were the only agents of stability as civil government collapsed. Gregory of Tours, who succeeded Volusian as bishop of Tours a century later, describes the turmoil of the times, and it is from his writings that we get our knowledge of Volusian.

We have no further information about Volusian's wife or his family, and we are not sure whether he died in southern France or in Spain. It is simply known that he was driven from his see, went into exile, and died after ruling as bishop for seven years.

Thought for the Day: Most of us live in very stable times, and it is difficult to imagine what it would be like if our country were invaded and national and state government ceased to exist. Our dependence on Divine Providence would be more obvious then, and our faith would have to give us strength in very different ways. The saints kept faith in the most difficult of times and leaned on God in every crisis.

From 'The Catholic One Year Bible': "A tree is identified by its fruit. A tree from a select variety produces good fruit; poor varieties, don't.... A good man's speech reveals the rich treasures within him. An evil-hearted man is filled with venom, and his speech reveals it."—Matthew 12:33, 35

 


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