Monday, October 31, 2016

St. Wolfgang of Ratisbon

Sankt Wolfgang im Salzkammergut parish church ( Upper Austria ). Saint Wolfgang´s chapel: Fresco at the ceiling – Saint Wolfgang making the devil build a church.

Wolfgang, born around 930, was of the family of the Swabian counts of Pfullingen.

As a young man he was sent to the renowned Benedictine Abbey on the monastic island of Reichenau located on Lake Constance. Here he became a friend of Henry, the brother of the Bishop of Wurzburg. They studied together at the cathedral school there.

Henry became acquainted with Wolfgang’s intelligence and capacity, and when he was consecrated Archbishop of Trier in 956, Wolfgang helped him with the improvements of religion in his diocese.

After the Archbishop’s death in 964, Wolfgang became a Benedictine in the monastery of Einsiedeln. There, he was appointed director of the school of the monastery.  St. Ulric, Bishop of Augsburg, ordained Wolfgang a priest, and for a while was sent to preach to the Magyars of Pannonia.

After this mission, the results of which did not correspond to his zeal, he was recommended to Otto II for the ecclesiastical seat of Ratisbon (present-day Regensburg in Bavaria), and though he begged to return to his monastery, was consecrated in 972.

Never quitting the monastic habit, and practicing all the austerities of monastic life, Wofgang ruled his diocese with fortitude and wisdom. One of the first things he set out to do was to reform the clergy, as well as monasteries, specially two disorderly nunneries.

He generously worked with Emperor Otto II in the reduction of his large diocese and the resultant formation of the diocese of Prague whose first bishop was St. Aldabert.  He also took part in several imperial diets, and in 978 accompanied Otto in his campaign to Paris.

While traveling on the Danube to the south of Austria, he fell ill at the village of Pupping. At his request he was carried into the chapel of St. Othmar, where he breathed his last. His body, taken back to Bishop of Ratisbon by friends, was solemnly interred in the chapel of St. Emmeran where many miracles occurred. He was canonized in 1042.

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