Home  »  Volume VI: June  »  St. Maxentius, Abbot in Poitou

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume VI: June. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.

June 26

St. Maxentius, Abbot in Poitou

HE was born at Agde, and christened by the name of Adjutor. He was placed by his pious parents from his infancy in the monastery of St. Severus, and formed to piety by that holy abbot, who never lost sight of him, and continually inculcated to him, that everything on earth is full of snares and temptations, and that unless we live in continual watchfulness and circumspection, the devil besieges us so close, that it is impossible for us not to be surprised by him. The youth, by walking always in holy fear, was so happy as to preserve his soul free from whatever could defile it. He fled with great dread the applause of men, as the bane of virtue. To avoid this danger he stole away into a distant country, but after two years was found and brought back by his parents and friends. The fear of the esteem of men again forced him abroad, and going into Poitou, he changed his name into that of Maxentius, and put himself under the direction of a virtuous abbot named Agapetus. The brethren were struck with admiration to see one so perfectly disengaged from the earth, so humble, so mortified, so full of charity, and so enlightened in the paths of salvation; and they unanimously chose him their superior. In his devotions he seemed animated with the spirit of David when he composed his psalms, and in his instructions with the zeal and charity of John the Baptist. Austere towards himself, he showed in all his actions, that he sought only that food which never perishes. Following the example of Agapetus, he laid down his office as soon as it was possible for him to do it, and shut himself up in a remote cell; but the monks obliged him still to continue to direct them by his councils. Clovis, the king of the French, was then at war with Alaric, king of the Visigoths, who reigned in Spain, Languedoc, and Aquitain. A barbarous army was stopped by the saint’s presence from plundering the monastery; and a soldier who attempted to strike him was seized with a numbness, which continued till he was cured by the saint. Nature on many occasions obeyed his voice, as St. Gregory of Tours relates. St. Maxentius died about the year 515, and is named in the Roman Martyrology.  1