This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

March 2 - Feast of Blessed Charles I of Flanders

Inconceivably bad place for a murder
Charles the Good fled his native Denmark after his father, Saint Canute (fourth Danish king of that name) was assassinated in a priory by rebels.  Charles' mom, Adela, packed up her son and moved back to her native Flanders.  She left her two daughters in Denmark, however.  Note that Adela was never canonized. 

Speaking of leaving kids behind, Adela soon departed from Flanders, leaving young Charles with her dad.  That was okay; the grampy (Robert I) and uncle (Robert II) were good role models and kindly counts.  Adela headed south to marry the Duke of Apulia, a match that may or may not have been to her liking but almost certainly was not her decision. 

Robert II was succeeded as Count of Flanders by his cousin, Baldwin VII.  In 1119, he died in battle, leaving his title and lands to his older cousin and tutor, Charles.  Although an aristocrat, Charles had enough generosity to have been a bishop and enough humility to have been a monk.  He was very active in distributing bread to the poor and in regulating the market manipulations of greedy grain hoarders.  As if this would not make him beloved enough by the people, he walked barefoot every day to Mass. 

Question: What peasant is not going to love a Count like that?

Answer: The kind who was getting rich by hoarding grain, namely the Erembald family. 

When Count Charles learned a little more about what the Erembalds were doing, he took steps to have their family status reduced to serfdom.  When Father Bertulf FitzErembald learned a little more about what  Count Charles was doing, he took steps to have his status elevated to blessed martyr.  A group of knights hacked the Count to death as he was praying in St. Donatian's Church, Father Bertulf's own parish. 

The Erembalds didn't reckon on the people's anger, no on that of King Louis VI of France.  Members of the family who had been involved in Charles' murder were hunted down and killed by nobles and commoners together, which is just as it should be when a saint is murdered. 

No comments:

Post a Comment