Saint Evermode

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Evermode was born in Belgium around the beginning of the twelfth century. Practically nothing is known of his youth. When Evermode was about twenty years old, St. Norbert came to the city of Cambray to preach at the invitation of Bishop Burchard. Evermode happened to hear Norbert speak and was moved immediately to join him. Norbert took him back to the newly founded community in Prémontré where Evermode became one of his first disciples. From this day forward Evermode accompanied Norbert on all of his journeys, soon becoming the closest friend and “beloved disciple” of the wandering preacher. Evermode was by Norbert’s side at all of the key moments of his life as founder and archbishop. On June 6, 1134, he was present at the bedside of Norbert as he imparted his farewell blessing and died. Evermode was stricken keenly by the death of Norbert. In the years that followed, he held several positions of leadership. From 1134 to 1138 he was the provost of the Abbey of Gottesgnaden in Saxony, and, from 1138 to 1154 provost of St. Mary’s in Magdeburg. In the year 1154 Evermode was appointed the first bishop of the newly founded diocese of Ratzeburg. A cathedral chapter of thirteen Norbertines surrounded Evermode with the community life he had come to cherish. As bishop he was known above all else for his apostolic zeal for the conversion of the pagan peoples of the north, most notably the Wends. As such the Premonstratensians are the only religious order to have converted an entire nation. He is often referred to as the “Apostle of the Wends” and was successful in both Christianizing and civilizing them where many had failed before. Evermode was also famed for his keen sense of justice. When the powerful Count Henry of Ratzeburg continued to mistreat some prisoners despite Evermode’s pleading to treat them fairly, he responded with a miracle. When the prisoners were admitted to the cathedral for the Mass of Easter, as was the custom, Evermode sprinkled the newly blessed Easter water on their chains, and the chains broke, setting the prisoners free. Evermode died as bishop of Ratzeburg on February 17, 1178. He is pictured with the regalia of a bishop, wiping away the tears of grief which he shed over the death of his beloved friend, St. Norbert.

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O Lord our God, you blessed St. Evermode with the gift of faithfulness and made him a zealous bishop of your church. Through his intercession grant that we may persevere to the end in good works and ever be filled with zeal for the salvation of souls. May St. Evermode keep us ever faithful to the spirit of St. Norbert. We ask this through Christ our Lord, AMEN.

(from premontre.org)

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