Monday, May 5, 2014


Vedast of Arras

Feast day: February 6

Birth: 453

Death:539 /540

 (also known as Foster, Gaston, Vat, Vaast, Waast)

Known also as Vaast, Foster, and Gaston, St. Vedast, a native of western France, is best-known as the catechist of Clovis, King of the Franks. Ordained at Toul, Vedast met Clovis when the king required a learned man to accompany him to Rheims after the battle of Tolbiac (496); upon their arrival, Clovis recommended his companion to Archbishop Remigius, who was to baptize the king after his wife, Clotilde had converted him to Christianity. The two clerics evangelized the Franks, and in 499, Vedast was named bishop of Arras and Cambrai, dioceses that had returned to paganism after the raids of Atilla. During his forty-year tenure, Vedast restored the faith of his people and the churches in which they worshiped.

 Born in western France, died February 6, 539.other feasts at Arras are celebrated on July 15 and October 1.

 When he was still very young, Vedast had left his home and led a holy life concealed from the world in the diocese of Toul, where the bishop, charmed with his virtue, consecrated him to the priesthood. Vedast, a fellow-worker with Saint Remigius in the conversion of the Franks, was instrumental in the conversion of Clovis I to Christianity.

 The occasion of Clovis's conversion was a victory over the Alemanni in 496. He had already been influenced by Saint Clothilde, whom he had married four years earlier. After his victory, he was heading to Rheims to receive baptism at the hands of Remigius, but at Toul he requested the help of a priest who might instruct and prepare him for the holy sacrament as he travelled. Vedast was presented to his majesty for this purpose. When Vedast restored the sight of a blind man along the Aisne River with a prayer and the sign of the cross, Clovis was strengthened in his resolve to become a Christian and some of his courtiers converted immediately.

 After being consecrated in 499 as bishop of Arras (united with Cambrai in 510) by Remigius, Vedast ruled the united sees of Arras- Cambrai for about 40 years. Upon his arrival in Arras, he restored sight to a blind man, and cured another who was lame. These miracles excited the attention, and disposed the hearts of many to open themselves to receive the Gospel. Although the region had been Christianized during the Roman occupation, the repeated incursion of Vandals and Alans had virtually destroyed any remnant of the faith. At the beginning of episcopacy, the only vestige of Christianity in his see was a ruined church. Though nearly discouraged at the ravages done to the faith, Vedast's patience, meekness, charity, and most especially prayers, allowed God to triumph over superstition and lust, and the faith was restored throughout that area.

 Vedast was buried in the cathedral, but 128 years later Bishop Saint Aubertus changed a little chapel which Vedast had built in honor of St. Peter into an abbey, and translated the Vedast's relics into this new church, leaving a small portion of them in the cathedral. The great abbey of Saint Vedast was finished by Bishop Saint Vindicianus and endowed by king Theodoric or Thierry, who lies buried in the church with his wife Doda.

 Many sites through Arras, Cambrai, and Belgium commemorate his name, as do three ancient church in England (in London, Norwich, and Tathwell in Lincolnshire). Although it is unlikely that Vedast ever visited England, his cultus there dates to the 10th century, which was heightened in the 12th century by the presence of Arrouaise Augustinians in the country. In England, he is sometimes known as Saint Foster, which is the derivation of that family name.

 The feast of Vedast was included in the Benedictional of Saint Ethelwold, the Missal of Robert of Jumisges, and the Leofric missal, as well as the calendars of Sarum, York, and Hereford. Blessed Alcuin wrote a vita for Vedast, as well as an Office and Mass in his honor for usage at Arras. In a letter to the monks of Arras in 769, Alcuin calls Vedast his protector

 As in the stained glass image in the church of Blythburgh, Suffolk, Saint Vedast is pictured as a bishop with a wolf carrying a goose in its mouth  (which had been rescued by Vedast for its poor owners). Other attributes include a child at his feet or a bear (Farmer). He is invoked on behalf of children who walk with difficulty, and for diseases of the eye

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