Monday, November 17, 2008

The Feast of Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln

Here is some interesting information about St. Hugh (1135/1140 - 1200):
As a bishop he was exemplary, constantly in residence or traveling within his diocese, generous with his charity, scrupulous in the appointments he made. He raised the quality of education at the cathedral school. Hugh was also prominent in trying to protect the Jews, great numbers of whom lived in Lincoln, in the persecution they suffered at the beginning of Richard I's reign, and he put down popular violence against them in several places.
Hugh's primary emblem is a white swan, in reference to the story of the swan of Stowe which had a deep and lasting friendship for the saint, even guarding him while he slept. The swan would follow him about constantly, and was his constant companion while he was at Lincoln.
There's something very moving about the swan's attachment to Bishop Hugh. This story can serve as a reminder to all of us that friendship with animals can well be an important aspect of saintliness.

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