Son of an army officer

St Hugh of Grenoble was born in Châteauneuf-sur-Isère in 1053, the son of an army officer. He was well liked because of his bashful nature and, despite being a layman, was made a canon of Valence.

The Bishop of Die invited Hugh to serve his household. When Hugh was only 27, he accompanied the bishop to a synod in Avignon. The synod addressed a number of problems, including the corruption that had crept into the vacant episcopal see of Grenoble.

The synod decided that Hugh was the one person capable of reforming the diocese. Much to his surprise, he was unanimously elected bishop of the diocese. He reluctantly accepted the new role.

Addressed abuses

Having successfully addressed both clerical and lay abuses, Hugh approached Pope Gregory VII and asked permission to retire to a monastery. The pope allowed this for a time but then summoned Hugh. The saint told Pope Gregory that he did not want to go back to serving as a bishop, highlighting his personal shortcomings. The pope replied: “Granted, son, you can’t do anything; but you are a bishop and the sacrament can do everything.”

Fed the starving

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