THE LIFE OF ST. LOYE

William Caxton added this Life to his 1483 edition of the Golden Legend. The content derives mostly from Dado of Rouen's 7th-century vita.

St. Loye was born in the country of Limoges. His father was named Eucherius and his mother Terrigia. What time his mother was conceived with him, she saw in her sleep, an eagle fly over her bed, and thrice bowed and inclined to her, and promised to her something. And with the voice of the eagle she awoke and was much abashed, surprised, discomfited and began to think what her dream might signify.

And when the time came of childing, childbirth and that she should be delivered, she was in great peril, and anon she sent for an holy man to come and pray for her. When the good man was come, anon he said to her: Have no doubt fear dame, ne nor dread, for this child shall be holy and much great in the church.

Loye Enters the Goldsmith's Craft

And after that he was born, this child grew in virtue, and his father set him to goldsmith's craft; and when he knew well the craft and art of goldsmithery he came into France and dwelt with a goldsmith that made work for the king. It happed that time that the king sought for one that could make for him a saddle of gold and of precious stones. Then the master of St. Loye said to the king that he had found a workman that should right well make whatsomever he would. wanted The king delivered to him a great mass of gold, which mass the master delivered to St. Loye, whereof he made two right fair saddles and presented that one to the king and that other he retained himself.

When the king saw this saddle so fair he and all his people marvelled much thereof and the king rewarded him much largely. Then after this, St. Loye presented to the king that other saddle, saying to him that, of the remnant of the gold he had made the same, and then was the king more amarvelled filled with wonder than he was tofore and demanded asked how he might had been able to make these two saddles of that weight that was delivered to him.

St. Loye said: Well by the pleasure of God.

His Generosity to the Poor

Then grew the name and fame of him in the king's court. St. Loye loved well poor people, for all that he won and might win he distributed it to them, in so much that oft he was almost naked. The poor people also loved him, that where he went they followed him, and that they that would speak with him must ask and enquire of the poor people where he was.

On a time it happed that as he dealed alms with his own hand, there was a poor man that had his hand stiff and lame, and put forth the better hand to receive the alms. Then St. Loye said to him that he should put forth that other hand, which as well as he might he put forth. St. Loye took and handled it and anointed it with a little oil, and anon it was guerished healed and whole.

Another time when he had given to the poor people all the gold and silver that he had, many other poor men came and demanded asked of him alms: and beholding himself that he had no more to give, anon immediately he departed divided among them a mark at that time, 8 ounces (227 grams) of gold that he had borrowed of his neighbour, and anon after, came more poor folk to demand alms, he put his hand anon to his purse, for he remembered not that it was void, empty and by the will of God he found therein a mark of gold, and when he had found that he began greatly to thank our Lord God thereof, and distributed it and departed it to the poor people for the love of God.

He was of high stature, red of visage face and angelic, of simple and prudent regard and cheer. At the beginning he was clad with precious vestments of gold adorned with gems and ouches, brooches, clasps, clasped necklaces and ware wore gilt girdles with precious stones, but under that, on his bare flesh, he wore always the hair. hairshirt ("A garment of rough cloth made from goats' hair and worn in the form of a shirt" - Catholic Encyclopedia After this he gave all his precious vesture clothing to the poor people for to succour help them in their necessities, and from then forthon he used always simple and poor clothing, and oft despoiled disrobed himself for to clothe the poor people. And when the king saw him in such wise he gave to him his own vestments and girdles, for he loved him as his proper soul, and abandoned to him all his house, and commanded to all his folk that all that St. Loye would have should be delivered to him without delay, and all he gave and distributed to poor folk, prisoners and to sick.

He is Chosen Bishop of Noyon

From the time of Brunehilde queen, unto the time of Dagobert, the pestilence of simony "a deliberate intention of buying or selling for a temporal price such things as are spiritual or annexed unto spirituals" - Catholic Encyclopedia reigned strongly, which, for to take away and destroy, St. Loye and St. Ouen laboured sore. Then was St. Loye chosen bishop of Noyon, after Achaire bishop of the said city, and with him was chosen St. Ouen archbishop of Rouen. St. Loye was pastor spiritual of Tournay, city royal, of Noyon, of Ghent, and of all Flanders, and of Courtrai.

He had a certain place in which, by certain days, he called to him poor and sick men and served them devoutly, and made clean their heads and washed them, and them that were lousy and full of vermin he himself would pick and make them clean, and gave them meat food and drink, and clothed them; and when they departed anon came other to whom he did in like wise. And when great company came, sometime he made them to sit down and refreshed them all, but every day, at the least he and twelve, the which he made sit down, and at certain hour ate and drank with them, but first he washed their hands and served them.

His Works of Charity and His Miracles

On a time he impetred requested and gat got (got his request) of the king that all the bodies that were condemned to death, that he could find in towns and cities hanged and ratted, exposed on a wheel that he might take them down and bury them, and ordained men of his college the community of clergymen living with him to do it.

It happed on a time that in the company of the king in the parties of Arastria, in a town named Strabor, he found a man that was hanged that same day and was then dead, and men made the sepulture sepulchre or coffin for to bury him in. And St. Loye approached him and began to take him down, and apperceived realized that the soul was in the body. He would not appropriate i.e., take credit for the miracle to him but kept him from vain glory and said full sweetly: O, what evil have would have we done for to let this man to be taken off if God Almighty had not holpen us; the soul is yet in his body.

When he [the hanged man] was raised, he was clad, given clothes and he [St. Loye] did him to take his rest. When they that had made him to die knew it, they would have made him receive death again, and with great pain St. Loye delivered him from their hands, yet he gat letters of grace i.e., a royal pardon for him, to be more sure.

There was a priest in his diocese which was infamed, infamous and oft he reproved him and exhorted him to be confessed, receive the sacrament of confession but the priest alway heled hid his sin. When St. Loye saw that his fair admonition availed not, he excommunicated and accursed him, and defended forbade him that he should no more sing mass unto the time he had done open penance. The priest set nought by cared not for, disregarded his commandment ne defence, prohibition in despiting ignoring his sentence. A little after this the said priest would wished to, was about to go sing mass, and as he approached unto the altar, he fell down to ground and died.

Many other miracles did he by his life and doeth yet. He edified founded at Noyon the Ancelles handmaids (i.e., nuns) of Jesu Christ. By him, God showed revealed the body of St. Quintin. He found at Soissons the bodies of two brethren germanes, brothers who have the same two parents martyrs, St. Crispin and Crispinian, and ordained a precious vessel to put them in. He found also at Beauvais the body of St. Lucian, which was of the company of St. Quintin, which he put in a precious vessel. At Paris, upon the great bridge, he made a blind man to see.

The sexton of the church of St. Colomba at Paris, came to St. Loye and said to him that thieves had borne away by night all the jewels and parements ornaments of the said church. Then St. Loye went into the oratory of St. Colomba, and said to him: Hark thou, Colomba, what I say to thee; my Redeemer will that anon thou bring again the ornaments of this church that have been taken away, or I shall in such wise close the doors with thorns, that never hereafter thou shalt, in this place, be served ne worshipped.

When he had said thus he departed. On the morn the sexton of the said church, that was called Maturin, rose up and found all the parements and jewels that had been borne away, and were set in the place as they had been tofore.

St. Loye did do ordain had furnished, had established much richly the body of St. Germain and the bodies of St. Severin, St. Plato, St. Quintin, St. Lucian, St. Genevieve, St. Colomba, St. Maxime, St. Julian, and specially of St. Martin at Tours, by Dagobert the king, and the tomb of St. Brice, and another tomb where the body of St. Martin had been long in, and the house of St. Denis the martyr at Paris, and the tigurion small chapel of marble which is upon him, of marvellous work of gold and of gems.

His Death

When St. Loye died he was seventy years old. At the end of the year he was transported into another place, and was found also just as fresh and without rotting as he had been alive in his sepulchre. Now hear ye yet a more great miracle: his beard and his hairs were shaven when he died, but in his tomb, when he was translated, they were found as great and long as as if they had always grown in his tomb.

This text was taken from the Internet Medieval Source Book. E-text © by Paul Halsall. Annotations, formatting, and added rubrics by Richard Stracke. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the sources. No permission is granted for commercial use.

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Trained as a goldsmith, St. Eligius is sometimes portrayed holding a golden chalice. (See the description page for this image and the page explaining the iconography of images of this saint.)