ST. VANENG, C.
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 St. Eulalia of Barcelona, called in Guienne,
St. 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 St. Vandrille in building
the churches of SS. Peter and Paul at Foutenelles, and founded in the
valley of Fécam* a church in honor of the holy Trinity, with a
great nunnery adjoining, under the direction of St. Owen and St.
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. St.
Vaneng died about the year 688, and is honored, in the Gallican and
Benedictin Martyrologies, on the 9th of January; but at St.
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 St. 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 St. Genevieve. See Mabillon, t. 2, p. 972;
Bollandus, and chiefly the life of St. Vaneng, judiciously collected
and printed at Paris in 1700;† also, the breviary of the abbey
of Fontenelle, now St. Vandrille’s. The abbeys of Fécam,
St. Vandrille, Jumiege, Bee, St. Stephen’s at Caen, Cerisy,
&c., are now of the reformed congregation of St. Maur, abbot of
St. Benignus, at Dijon, whose life Bollandus has given us among the
saints, January 1. Fécam, honored by the dukes of Normandy
above all their other monasteries, is the richest and most
magnificent abbey in Normandy.