Memorial of St. Frederic of Mariëngaarde, O. Praem.
(b. unknown, † March 3, 1175)
- Pectoral cross and crosier = Abbot
- Sudarium = Protection
- Lilies = Devotion to Mary
- Romanesque abbey = Founder
Frederic was the son of a poor widow from Hallum in Friesland. His priestly vocation was recognized from his early youth, as was his special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Returning from his theology studies in Munster, he became a teacher and was ordained a priest and appointed an assistant to the priest of Hallum, whom he later succeeded.
After the death of his mother, Frederic built a hospital and asked permission of the bishop of Utrecht to establish a monastery of canons. Subsequently he went to the Norbertine abbey of Mariënweerd to learn about monastic life.
In 1163, Frederic built the monastery of “Mariëngaarde,” dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. At first the priests and nuns lived in a double monastery, but eventually the nuns moved to the convent of Bethlehem. Frederic himself, being attracted to Norbertine religious life, went to Steinfeld Abbey in order to become a member of the Norbertine Order. Frederic later became the abbot/pastor of Hallum and the rector of Bethlehem convent at the same time.
Becoming ill while at the Norbertine convent of Bethlehem, Frederic returned to Hallum—the church in which he had celebrated his first Mass and where he also would celebrate his last. After Mass he returned to the abbey to die. He said to his confreres, “Pray for me because I could not care for the poor as much as I wished since the monastery was so poor.” He urged the confreres to follow the Rule and assured them that he would never abandon them if they would remain faithful.
Frederic died on March 3, 1175. So many miracles occurred at his grave that the church of Mariëngaarde became a much-visited pilgrimage site. In 1614 during the rule of the Calvinists in Friesland, his relics were transferred to the abbey of Bonne-Espérance in Belgium, where they were entombed in the abbey church. During the French Revolution they were relocated to Vellereille, and in 1938 to Leffe in Dinant, Belgium. Pope Benedict XIII approved Frederic’s cult on January 22, 1728.
Date(s) - Thursday February 4, 2021