Monday, January 9, 2017
Saint Arnold ?
Arnold, born in Brabant, the son of a certain Fulbertus was first a career soldier before settling at the Benedictine St. Medard's Abbey, Soissons, France. He spent his first three years as a hermit, but later rose to be abbot of the monastery. He then became a priest and in 1080, bishop of Soissons, another honor that he sought to avoid. When his see was occupied by another bishop, rather than fighting, he took the opportunity to retire from public life, founding the Abbey of St. Peter in Oudenburg. At the abbey, he began to brew beer, as essential in medieval life as water. He encouraged local peasants to drink beer, instead of water, due to its "gift of health." The beer normally consumed at breakfast and during the day at this time in Europe, was called small beer, having a very low alcohol content, and containing spent yeast. Thus the drinker had a safe source of hydration, plus a dose of B vitamins from the yeast which grew during the fermentation of the beverage. The miracle tale says, at the time of an epidemic, Arnold was an abbot in Oudenburg, Belgium. Rather than stand by while the local Christians drank water, he had them consume his alcoholic brews. Because of this, many people in his church survived the plague. During the process of brewing, the water was boiled and thus, unknown to all, freed of pathogens.
St. Arnold patron saint of brewers is honored in July with a parade in Brussels on the "Day of Beer.