mercredi 22 avril 2015

Sainte OPPORTUNE de MONTREUIL, vierge et abbesse bénédictine

Sainte Opportune à l'abbaye de Lessay, relief en pierre calcaire du XIIIe siècle 
provenant de l'ancienne égloise paroissiale de Sainte Opportune 
sur le territoire de laquelle fut fondée en 1056 l'Abbaye de Lessay

Sainte Opportune

Abbesse bénédictine ( 770)

Lorsqu'elle entra à l'abbaye d'Almenèches, ce fut son frère, Godegrand, évêque de Sées dans l'Orne, qui l'accueillit et lui remit le voile. On lui prête beaucoup de miracles. Ce dont on est sûr, c'est qu'elle ne se consola pas de l'assassinat de son frère par un cousin pressé de lui succéder. Elle le fit inhumer dans son couvent et, treize jours après, elle le rejoignait au ciel. 

La diffusion de ses reliques propagea son culte en Ile de France et surtout à Paris, qui a même donné son nom à plusieurs de ses rues. 

- Visite de l’abbatiale dédiée à Ste Opportune et à l’origine de l’abbaye bénédictine d’Argentan (Orne - 61) - Video de l'abbatiale d'Almeneches.  (diocèse de Seez)

Un internaute nous signale: "L'abbaye a été fondée à Almenêches à la fin du VIe siècle. Détruit par les Normands, restauré vers 1060, le monastère adopte la Règle de Saint Benoît. Réformé par Fontevrault au XVIe siècle puis transféré à Argentan par ordre de Louis XV (1736), le monastère, dispersé à la révolution, se regroupa de nouveau en 1822 à Vimoutiers, puis à Argentan en 1830. La bataille de Normandie le détruisit de nouveau en 1944, obligeant la communauté à se replier à Sées. En 1958, le monastère, reconstruit à Argentan en bordure de la ville, reprenait la vie monastique bénédictine. Dans la nef de l'église abbatiale, on peut voir une Vierge à l'Enfant du XIVe siècle et dans la crypte une importante relique de Sainte Opportune (Abbesse du VIIIe). Les foyers désirant un enfant viennent y demander l'intercession de la Sainte." (Bénédictines de l'abbaye Notre-Dame d'Argentan)

Au pays de Sées, vers 775, sainte Opportune, abbesse, qui se distingua par une abstinence et une austérité extrêmes.

Martyrologe romain

Jacques Callot (1592–1635). Sainte Opportune, gravure, vers 1630
April 22

St. Opportuna, Virgin and Abbess

SHE was virgin and Abbess of Montreuil, three miles from Seez, an episcopal see in Normandy, of which her brother, St. Chrodegang, was bishop. This holy prelate, returning from a pilgrimage of devotion which he had made to Rome and other holy places, went to pay a visit to his cousin, St. Lantildis, abbess of Almanesches, in his diocess; but was murdered in the way, at Normant, on the 3rd of September, 769, by the contrivance of Chrodobert, a powerful relation, to whom he had intrusted the administration of his temporalities during his absence. He is honoured in the Breviary of Seez on the day of his death: his head is enshrined in the abbey of St. Martin in the Fields, at Paris, and his body in the priory of Isle-Adam upon the Oise, near Pontoise. St. Opportuna did not long survive him, dying in 770, on the 22nd of April, having lived an accomplished model of humility, obedience, mortification, and prayer. Her relics were carried from Seez during the incursions of the Normans, in the reign of Charles the Bald, to the priory of Moussy, between Paris and Senlis, in 1009: and some time after to Senlis. In the reign of Charles V. in 1374, her right arm was translated to Paris with great devotion and pomp, and deposited in the church which was built in her honour, in the reign of Charles the Bald, to receive a former portion of her relics then brought from Moussy. It was then a small church, built at the entrance of a wood, near an hermitage, called before, Notre Dames des Bois Paris. The town being since extended much beyond this church, it was made parochial and a collegiate of canons.—A great part of the head of St. Opportuna remains at Moussy; her left arm, with part of her skull, at Almenesches: one jaw in the priory of St. Chrodegang, at l’Isle-Adam, and a rib, with her right arm, in her church at Paris. In processions, when the shrine of St. Genevieve is taken down, and carried, the ancient portion of the relics of St. Opportuna, kept in a large shrine, is also carried next the shrine of St. Honoratus. She is commemorated in the Paris Breviary, and is the titular saint of a parish in that city. See her life written by Adelham, bishop of Seez, in 811, in Mabillon, sæc. 3; Ben. part 2, and Henschenius, t. 3, Apr. p. 462; Le Beuf, Hist. du Diocése de Paris, t. 1, p. 65; La Vie de St. Opportune, par Nic. Gosset, 1655.

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume IV: April. The Lives of the Saints.  1866

Niche avec statue de la sainte (place Sainte-Opportune, Paris Ier)

Opportuna of Montreuil, OSB V, Abbess (AC)

Born near Ayesmes, Normandy; died c. 770. Saint Opportuna was the sister of Saint Chrodegang, bishop of Séez. When she was still very young, Opportuna received the veil from her brother and entered the Benedictine convent of Montreuil at Almenèches, three miles from Séez, where her cousin Saint Lantildis governed. (Chrodegang was killed on the way to visit the abbey.) Later Opportuna succeeded her cousin as abbess. Opportuna, a model of humility, obedience, mortification, and prayer, is described as "a true mother to all her nuns."

Her cultus has always flourished in France. In 1009, during the invasion of the Normans in the reign of Charles the Bald, her relics were translated to the priory of Moussy between Paris and Senlis. Later they were moved to Senlis. In 1374, her right arm and a rib were enshrined in a small church dedicated to her in Paris near a hermitage called Notre Dame des Bois Paris. As the city grew, so did the church. Most of Opportuna's head still rests at Moussy; her left arm and part of her skull at Almenèches; and a jaw bone in the priory of Saint Chrodegang at Île-Adam. The Parisien shrine is carried in processions with those of Saints Honoratus and Geneviève (Attwater2, Benedictines, Coulson, Husenbeth).

In art, Saint Opportuna holds an abbess's crozier and a casket of relics. She may also be shown with the Virgin appearing at her deathbed or as a princess with a basket of cherries and a fleur-de- lys (Roeder). She is venerated at Ayesmes in Normandy (Roeder).
Sister of Saint Chrodegang of Seezz. Niece of Saint Lanthilda. Benedictine nun and abbess at the convent near Almenêches, France, receiving the veil from her brother. Legend says that a peasant stole a donkey from her convent and refused to acknowledge his crime. Opportuna turned it over to God; the next day the farmer‘s field was sown with salt. The peasant returned the donkey AND gave the field to the nuns


  • at castle of Exmes, Argentan, Normandy, France

Saint Opportuna

·        Century: 8th Century

·        Patronage: Diocese of Seez

·        Feast Day: April 22nd

St. Opportuna was from Montreuil, and was a French Benedictine Nun and Abbess.  When she was a young girl, Opportuna became a Benedictine Nun at the convent called the Monasteriolum, where her cousin St. Lantildis was Abbess.  She took the veil from her brother, St. Chrodegang, the Bishop of Seez.  Montreuil was only three miles from the Abbey, but Chrodegang was murdered on the way to visit his sister there.  Later, Opportuna became Abbess.  She was viewed, as a true mother to all her Nuns, correcting their faults, with words, not blows.  

Opportuna’s sanctity was not expressed in charismatic actions during her lifetime; she performed no miracles during her lifetime.  She lived in a time where the Bishops were hostile to any such forms of expressions such as charismatic ascetics, healers, prophets or visionaries known as the Carolingian era.   The accounts of miracles worked at the site of Opportuna’s tomb, where present after her death.  She remained ever present in her former precincts, extending her protection to her flock forward in time.  Opportuna’s vita, records that once a peasant stole a donkey from the convent and refused to acknowledge his crime.  Opportuna turned the matter over to God, and the next day the farmer’s field was sown with salt.  The repentant peasant returned the donkey and gave the Nuns the field.  

Some legends tell us that Opportuna died from a brief illness which was compounded by grief from the death of her brother, Bishop Chrodegang, who had died on September 3, 769.  The Administrator he had entrusted his Diocese to while he was away for seven years to Rome planned his murder.  Opportuna foresaw her brother’s death in a prophetic vision, but was powerless to intervene.  She buried her brother in her own convent, and she herself died on April 22, 770.  According to sources, Vikings invaded both the convent at Montreuil and the Abbey at Almeneches, and they were destroyed.  Her relics were transferred to the priory of Moussy.  Some of her relics were enshrined in a small Church in Paris, near a hermitage called Notre Dame Des Bois Paris.   

Practical Take Away

St. Opportuna was a French Benedictine Nun.  She was the brother of Bishop Chrodegang, now a saint.  She became the Abbess of her Convent, and was known as a true mother to all her Nuns.  She didn’t work great miracles in her lifetime, but after death, many miracles were wrought at her tomb.  She extended her protection to the community and her Nuns, forward in time, beyond death.  She foresaw the murder of her brother Bishop Chrodegang, also a saint, but was unable to do anything to prevent it.  

Saint Opportuna of Montreuil

(d. 770)

Saint Opportuna was born near Hyesmes, Normandy. Her brother, Saint Chrodegang, became the bishop of Seez. Opportuna felt God’s call to enter religious life and joined a Benedictine convent at Monteuil. Opportuna lived a life of great humility, obedience, prayer, and sacrifice. She was such a positive example to her other sisters that she was appointed abbess. In an unexpected and tragic turn of events, her brother was murdered while returning from a pilgrimage to Rome. Saint Opportuna was struck with such sadness and grief that she died one year after his death.

Dear Saint Opportuna, God granted you the grace to put Him in the first place in your life, and to generously serve Him in poverty, chastity and obedience under the Benedictine Rule. When ever you had troubles in life, you turned to God in prayer and obtained all you ever asked for, and more besides. As abbess you cared for all the needs of the religious women entrusted to you, their spiritual; needs and their temporal needs, depending upon the Providence of God. Even after your death, you are still pleading before God on behalf of all those who entrust themselves to your prayers. You have been successful in obtaining changes of heart among the clergy. Encouraged by this, I ask you to obtain for me all of the favours I seek (….here mention your requests ….). Dear St Opportuna, please take these prayers to your heart and obtain favourable answers for them all, as well as all of the spiritual and temporal graces I need to join you in Heaven praising God’s goodness.