Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Vaneng, Confessor

Article

From various fragments of ancient histories of his life, the most modern of which was compiled in the twelfth century, it appears that Vaneng was made by Clotaire III governor of that part of Neustria, or Normandy, which was anciently inhabited by the Caletes, and is called Pais de Caux, at which time he took great pleasure in hunting. Nevertheless, he was very pious, and particularly devout to Saint Eulalia of Barcelona, called in Guienne Saint Aulaire. One night he seemed in a dream to hear that holy Virgin and Martyr repeat to him those words of our blessed Redeemer in the gospel, that “it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to be saved.” Soon after this, he quitted the world, assisted Saint Vandrille in building the churches of Saints Peter and Paul at Fontenelles, and founded in the valley of Fécam a church in honour of the holy Trinity, with a great nunnery adjoining, under the direction of Saint Owen and Saint Vandrille. Hildemarca, a very virtuous nun, was called from Bourdeaux, and appointed the first abbess. Under her three hundred and sixty nuns served God in this house, and were divided into as many choirs as were sufficient, by succeeding one another, to continue the divine office night and day without interruption. Saint Vaneng died about the year 688, and is honoured, in the Gallican and Benedictin Martyrologies, on the 9th of January; but at Saint Vandrille’s and in other monasteries in Normandy, on the 31st of January. This saint is titular patron of several churches in Aquitain and Normandy; one near Touars in Poictou, has given its name to the village of Saint Vaneng. His body is possessed in a rich shrine, in the abbatial church of our Lady at Ham, in Picardy, belonging to the regular canons of Saint Genevieve. Bollandus, and chiefly the life of Saint Vaneng, judiciously collected and printed at Paris in 1700. Also the breviary of the abbey of Fontenelle, now Saint Vandrille’s. The abbeys of Fécam, Saint Vandrille, Jumiege, Bec, Saint Stephen’s at Caen, Cerisy, etc. are now of the reformed congregation of Saint Maur, abbot of Saint Benignus, at Dijon, whose life Bollandus has given us among the saints, January 1. Fécam honoured by the dukes of Normandy above all their other monasteries, is the richest and most magnificent abbey in Normandy.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saint Vaneng, Confessor”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. Saints.SQPN.com. 9 January 2013. Web. 25 October 2014. <>