lundi 20 février 2017


Saint Ulric

Ermite près d'Heselborough ( 1154)

ou Wulfric

L'abbé cistercien Jean de Ford a écrit sa biographie.

En anglais:
The Life of Wulfric of Haselbury, Anchorite
, John of Forde.

Wulfric of Haselbury, Hermit (AC)

(also known as Ulfrick, Ulric)

Born at Compton Martin (near Bristol), England; died at Haselbury, Somerset, England, in February 20, 1154. Saint Wulfric was an ordained priest, but not because he felt a religious vocation. He like to hunt and eat and party with the lords of the manors near Deverill, Wiltshire, England. He performed all the functions of a priest, but he did not have his heart in them.

Legend reports that, one day in the early 1120's while he was a priest at Deverill, near Warminster, he was suddenly touched by divine grace. Some say that he had underwent a metanoia during a chance encounter with a beggar. Other say that Wulfric was converted to a life of penance one day upon recitation of the Lavabo verse: "I will wash my hands among the innocent." It was as if all the easy ways of his past rose up at once to torment him, and he fled immediately to a place in search of solitude.

We don't know how long he remained a hermit, but there are seemingly endless reports of his austerities and arduous mortifications: going down in the icy waters to recite the Psalms, flagellations, prostrations, mail-shirts. When Wulfric finally returned to his flock, he was a new man. He ministered to his flock until 1125.

A knight offered him a cell adjoining a church at Haselbury- Plunkett (Plucknett) near Exeter in Somerset. He had no official episcopal authorization, but was supported by the neighboring Cluniac monks of Montacute. There he lived the remainder of his life, starving himself until his body was skin and bones. He was famous for his gift of prophecy and for his priestly care of all who sought his counsel, including Kings Henry I and Stephen. In 1130, Henry and Queen Adela obtained through his intercession the healing of the knight Drogo de Munci from paralysis. In 1133, Wulfric prophesied the death of the king which occurred in 1135. Stephen visited him with his brother, Henry of Blois, bishop of Winchester, when Wulfric greeted him as king even before his disputed accession. On another occasion, Wulfric reproached him for misgovernment.

A curious story is recounted in detail that he cut the iron links of his mail-shirt with ordinary scissors as if they were only linen in order to shorten it to permit the numerous prostrations that were a part of the penitential exercises of that era. He said Mass daily with the assistance of a boy named Osbern, who later became a priest and who recorded Wulfric's vita. The near- contemporary life of Wulfric by Abbot John of Ford is accurate and informative.

The saint employed himself primarily in copying books, which he bound himself. He also made elements for the celebration of Mass. Many miracles were attributed to his intercession, both in this life and after his death. (Although the first miracle at his tomb is not recorded to have occurred until 1169; they were numerous between 1185 to 1235.) The Cistercians lay claim to Wulfric, as did the monks of Montacute, but he was unaffiliated with an religious order.

Wulfric's cultus was slow to develop. He was mentioned favorably by Henry of Huntingdon, Roger of Wendover, and Matthew Paris. William Worcestre and John Leland also mention his tomb. In 1633, John Gerard recorded that his cell was still standing as was his memory. A 16th-century martyrology and a French menology include Saint Wulfric. He is venerated at Haselbury, where he is buried in the cell in which he lived, which is now the site of the church's vestry (Attwater, Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth, Walsh).