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About the Commemoration
Hugh was born into a noble family at Avalon in Burgundy (France). He became a canon regular at Villard-Benoit near Grenoble. About 1160 he joined the Carthusians, the strictest contemplative religious order, becoming the procurator of their major house, the Grande Chartreuse. With reluctance, he accepted the invitation of King Henry II to become prior of a new foundation of Carthusians in England at Witham, Somerset. With even greater hesitation, Hugh accepted the King’s appointment to the See of Lincoln in 1186. He died in London, November 16, 1200, and is buried in Lincoln Cathedral, of which he laid the foundation.
As a bishop, Hugh continued to live as much as possible under the strict discipline of his order. His humility and tact, his total lack of self-regard, and his cheerful disposition made it difficult to oppose him. His people loved him for his unrelenting care of the poor and oppressed. Steadfastly independent of secular influences, he was never afraid to reprove his king for unjust treatment of the people. Hugh refused to raise money for King Richard’s foreign wars. Yet Richard said of him, “If all bishops were like my Lord of Lincoln, not a prince among us could lift his head against them.”
Robert Grosseteste was a distinguished scholar of law, medicine, languages, sciences, and theology, having risen to prominence from humble beginnings. He was a commentator and translator of Aristotle, but sought to refute many of Aristotle’s ideas in favor of those of Augustine. Because of Grosseteste’s influence, Oxford began to give greater weight to the study of science, particularly geometry, physics, and mathematics. Roger Bacon, an important progenitor of scientific method, was a pupil of Grosseteste, and John Wycliffe was strongly influenced by him as well.
He became Bishop of Lincoln in 1235. He is remembered for the diligence with which he visited the clergy and people of his diocese, teaching, preaching, and celebrating the sacraments, thus refusing to be isolated from the lives of those under his care. He was a steadfast defender of diocesan prerogatives whether against the papacy or the state.
I. Holy God, our greatest treasure, who didst bless Hugh and Robert, Bishops of Lincoln, with wise and cheerful boldness for the proclamation of thy Word to rich and poor alike: Grant that all who minister in thy Name may serve with diligence, discipline and humility, fearing nothing but the loss of thee and drawing all to thee through Jesus Christ our Savior; who liveth and reigneth with thee in the communion of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
II. Holy God, our greatest treasure, you blessed Hugh and Robert, Bishops of Lincoln, with wise and cheerful boldness for the proclamation of your Word to rich and poor alike: Grant that all who minister in your Name may serve with diligence, discipline and humility, fearing nothing but the loss of you and drawing all to you through Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you in the communion of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Preface of a Saint (2)