Saint Ludolf of Ratzeburg; Bishop and a Martyr for the Rights and Freedom of the Church

Saint Ludolf of Ratzeburg; Bishop and a Martyr for the Rights and Freedom of the Church

Saint Ludolf was a Bishop and Martyr, Preacher, and founder of a community of Norbertine Sisters, Reformer and Counseller. He was a Priest of the Premonstratensian (Norbertines) Order, particularly invoked as a martyr for the freedom of the Church.

Ludolf was a Norbertine Canon who was appointed to the See of the newly-formed Prince-Bishopric of Ratzeburg in 1236. He led such a strict religious life that his community was nicknamed the “carcer ordinis” (Prison of the Order).

Nothing is known of the early years of Ludolf. He joined the Norbertine Cathedral Chapter of Ratzeburg where he was treasurer before being elected eighth bishop of Ratzeburg in 1236. He was renowned for his exemplary religious life and powerful preaching of the word of God. He also founded a community of Norbertine sisters at Rehna.

Like the Good Shepherd, Ludof focused all his energies on the care of souls. He preached and made pastoral visitations. The pope entrusted him with several political missions, forcing him to fight for the rights and freedom of the Church. His most difficult trial involved standing up to Prince Albert, the “Bear of Saxony,” who had taken possession of cathedral properties—an act that Ludolf resisted. The prince’s insults and threats did not intimidate him. The Duke had him imprisoned, where he was beaten and later sent into exile. Albert consequently ordered Ludolf thrown into a dungeon, where he had to suffer severe tortures. Realising that his treatment of the bishop was unpopular, the prince decided to set Ludolf free. After his release from prison, he was brought half-dead to the Franciscans at Wismar but he died shortly after.

It was during this exile that Ludolf, weighed down by the infirmities suffered in prison and by his advancing old age, fell gravely ill. He celebrated his last Mass on Holy Thursday. His final words were “O great and good God, allow me, your useless servant, to belong to you for all eternity.”

His body was returned to Ratzeburg for burial. As the procession passed through Schlagsdorf, the bells of the city were said to ring of their own accord. Ludolf is honoured as a “Bishop and a Martyr for the Rights and Freedom of the Church.”

After his death, those who visited his grave in the Cathedral of Ratzeburg reported numerous favours received. The centuries-old veneration of Ludolph was confirmed and extended to the whole order by Pope Benedict XIII on 12 April 1728.

Other Saints of the Day
1. Saint Venturino of Bergamo
2. Saint Canon of Naso
3. Saint Gundelindis
4. Saint Priscus
5. Saint Rogatus

The comments posted here are not from Cnews Live. Kindly refrain from using derogatory, personal, or obscene words in your comments.