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How the nobles of Brittany swore fealty to king Henry and his son
A.D. 1170. Henry king of England held his court on
Christmas day at Nantes, with the bishops and barons of
Lesser Britain, who all swore fealty to him and to his son
Geoffrey. In Lent following he crossed over into England,
and was almost drowned with all his people.

Of the absolution of the bishop of London.

This year, also, Gilbert bishop of London arriving at Milan on his way to Rome, received there a letter from our lord the pope, to the following purport: “We have commanded the archbishop of Rouen and the bishop of Exeter in our stead to receive from you an oath that you will abide by our sentence, touching the causes for which the sentence was passed against you, and then to absolve you; so that your excommunication may entail no loss of rank or dignity, or mark of infamy upon you hereafter.” The bishop, therefore, succeeded in the object of his wishes, and was , publicly absolved at Rouen on Easter Sunday.

Of the life and virtues of St. Godric the hermit.

This same year, the venerable hermit Godric passed from this life to that which is eternal. Of his life, his miraculous acts, and glorious end, we will here introduce a few remarks, since it would be an injustice to the saint altogether to pass over his glorious deeds. This friend of God was born in Norfolk; his father's name was Ailward, and his mother's Eadwenna. He was brought up by his parents in his native village of Walpole, and there passed part of his


life in their company. When he had passed the innocent years of childhood he became a tradesman; at first in a humble manner, and afterwards frequenting the public market with other traders. One day, as he was walking alone upon the shore, he found three dolphins cast up by the sea; one of which seemed to be dead, and the other two dying. For humanity's sake he left those which were alive untouched, but loaded himself with part of that which was dead, and set out to return home; but the tide beginning to rise as usual, was at first over his feet and legs, and at last, rose as high as his head. But being strong in faith, he continued to walk along, under the water, guided by the Lord, until he reached the dry ground; and delivering the fish to his parents, he told them all that had happened to him. Sometimes he would meditate when he was alone, upon heavenly things, and say over the Lord's prayer and the creed. In his zeal for religion, he went to St. Andrew's in Scotland to pray, and with no less devotion went also to Rome. On his return from thence he joined himself to some merchants, and with them carried on traffic by sea ; which brought him so much wealth that he was owner of half one ship, and the fourth part of another. Being robust in body and active in mind, he sailed to different countries of the world, and visiting the holy places of the saints, commended himself to their protection.

Of the girl who ministered to St. Godric in his pilgrimage.

When Godric had spent sixteen years in the gains of these trading voyages, he determined to spend, in the cause of religion, the wealth which his labours had accumulated. He therefore took the cross and devoutly visited our Lord's sepulchre; after which he returned by way of St. James's" to England. After some time he felt a holy desire to visit the threshold of the apostles, and communicated this intention to his parents; and when his mother expressed her wish to accompany him, if he would let her, he gladly assented, and with filial obedience, carried her on his shoulders, whenever the roughness of the road required it. When they had passed through London, a woman of great beauty approached them, and asked permission to join in

* Compostello in Spain.

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A.D. 1170.] ST. GODRIC. The HERMIT. 3

their pilgrimage. To this they readily assented, and she adhered to them with great diligence and devotion; for she washed and kissed their feet, and served them better than any others. In this manner she conducted herself the whole way, both going and returning ; no one asked her who she was or where she came from, nor did she ever mention it. When they passed through London on their return, she obtained their consent to leave; but she said before going away, “It is now time for me to go to the place from which I came: and you must give thanks to God, who never deserts those that put their trust in Him; for I tell you that you will surely obtain that which you prayed for at Rome from the apostles.” None of the company saw this woman except Godric and his mother only.

How the man of God, on his return home, retired into the desert.

When he had restored his mother in safety to the protection of his father, he sold all that he had, received their blessing, and left them, in order to become a hermit. In the extreme parts of England he came to a city called Carlisle, where, finding some of his relations, he obtained from one of them a present of one of St. Jerome's psalters, which in a short time he learned to recite by heart. He then, without the knowledge of his friends, retired to the woods. where he lived some time on wild herbs and fruits; and both serpents and wild beasts came and looked on him, but after a time left him without doing him any harm. In this desert he spent many days as a hermit; at one time on his knees, at another time with his hands raised to heaven, or prostrate on the ground, he was constantly in prayer to God. At last he found in that place a hermit's cave, into which he entered, and received the salutation, “Welcome, brother Godric " To which he replied, “How do you do, father Ailric:" though they never knew one another before. “You are sent by Heaven,” replied the old man, “to bury my old body when I am dead.” These two lived together two years, though neither of them had any property. At last the old hermit became very infirm, and was carried about by Godric, who brought him food, and fetched a priest to hear his confession, and administered to him the eucharist. Godric, therefore, seeing that he became worse, said, “Thou spirit, that hast been created after God's likeness, I adjure thee by the Almighty God, not to leave this body without my knowledge.” The old man thereupon died immediately, and Godric saw a kind of spherical body like a hot and burning wind, which shone like most transparent glass, in the midst of an incomparable whiteness, though no one can describe the measure of the soul's qualities. At the news of the holy man's death, his companions, who were at the court of St. Cuthbert, where, when a young man, he had himself resided, buried him in the cemetery of Durham.

How the blessed Godric went to Jerusalem and returned safe.

When the brother aforesaid was buried, Godric returned to the desert, doubting what might be the divine will concerning him. Whilst, therefore, he was praying earnestly to God on this subject, a voice came from heaven saying to him, “It is expedient that thou shouldst go to Jerusalem and return again.” Also St. Cuthbert, Christ's holy confessor, appeared to him saying, “Go to Jerusalem, and be crucified with the Lord, and I will there be your helper and patron in all things. When you have completed this journey, you shall serve God under my protection at Finchale.” Godric returning to Durham, took the cross and received the priest's blessing. On this journey he ate nothing but barley bread and drank water, he neither changed nor washed his clothes, nor ever took off his shoes to change or mend them, until he arrived as the holy places. When he came to the Lord's tomb and the other sacred places, he prayed devoutly, shedding tears, and kissing the spot so long and devoutly, that one could hardly have thought it possible. He then went to the river Jordan, where, clothed in sackcloth, and with a cup which he carried in his wallet, and a small cross, which he always bore in his hand, he entered the river, which he always after loved, and there putting off his clothes, came forth washed and clean; but he threw away his shoes, and said, “Almighty God, who in this land didst walk with naked feet, and didst suffer thy feet to be pierced with nails upon the cross: henceforth I will never again wear shoes.” Having thus fulfilled his vow of pilgrimage, he returned to England.

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