Feast of Bl. Hugh of Fosse, O. Praem.
(c. 1093, † February 10, 1164)
- Crosier and pectoral cross = Abbot
- Books = Statutes, Ordinarius, and Vita B
- Architecture = Prémontré
Hugh was born in Fosses-la-Ville southeast of Brussels in present day Belgium toward the end of the 11th century. He became a cleric of the collegiate chapter of his hometown and later a court chaplain of Burchard, the Bishop of Cambray in France.
Hugh met Norbert of Xanten in Valenciennes on March 26, 1119, and was so impressed with his apostolic way of life that he became Norbert’s first disciple. In 1121, after the founding of Prémontré, Hugh returned to Norbert’s side and was named the first prior of the young community, becoming Norbert’s “right hand” man. After Norbert was appointed archbishop of Magdeburg in 1126, the confreres elected Hugh the first abbot of Prémontré, where he built the first medieval abbey church and monastery.
In order to preserve unity among Norbert’s numerous foundations, he called the superiors of the various houses to a meeting out of which the General Chapters of the order developed. Hugh also compiled the first book of ceremonies with the liturgical directives of the order and authored the ancient account of the life of St. Norbert known today as “Vita Norberti B.” Hugh played an essential role in the development, inner strengthening, and rapid flourishing of the order. Under his guidance the number of the monasteries grew many-fold.
As an abbot, Hugh was mild and humble of heart, but also very persistent. For 36 years he was the father of his community and the source of unity in the order. Hugh died on February 10, 1164, and was buried in the abbey church at Prémontré.
After the suppression of the abbey of Prémontré during the French Revolution, Hugh’s mortal remains were transferred several times, resting finally at the abbey of Bois-Seigneur-Isaac in Belgium in 1922. Pope Pius XI confirmed the cult of Blessed Hugh on July 13, 1927.
Date(s) - Wednesday February 10, 2021