Hugh of Lincoln (1140-1200) pastor
Hugh, a Cistercian monk and bishop of Lincoln, England, died on November 16, 1200 at the age of sixty.
He was born near Grenoble, France and was educated by the Augustinian canons of Villarbenoît, where he made his religious vows. Desiring a more solitary life, at the age of twenty-five he obtained permission to enter the Grande Chartreuse. From there he was soon sent to preside over the English Carthusian monastery of Witham, which was in poor condition.
In 1186 Hugh was elected bishop of Lincoln, then England's largest diocese. He accepted in obedience to his prior and energetically took up his pastoral duties. Under his direction the local theological academy flourished, and Hugh oversaw the restoration of the city's cathedral, sometimes lending a hand in the heaviest labor.
Esteemed for his compassion and equanimity, Hugh was often called upon to judge the most difficult cases. His love of justice gave him the courage to speak in opposition to kings and his fellow bishops, but he never held a grudge against anyone. It is said that when several Jews were unjustly accused of inciting a popular revolt, Hugh he risked his personal safety to save them from death.
Hugh cared personally for leprosy victims and fought to give the poorest members of his society the right to a dignified burial. He loved nature and is often depicted in the company of his pet swan, which lived with him in his bishops' residence in Lincoln.
By the time of Hugh's death, he had become known known throughout England, and no one questioned his holiness.
Mic 6:6-8; 1 Tim 6:11-16; Lk 9:51-56
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