St. Cloud, called in Latin Chlodoardus, is the first and most illustrious saint among the princes of the royal family of the first race in France. He was son of Chlodomir king of Orleans, the eldest son of St. Clotilda, and was born in 522. He was scarce three years old when his father was killed in Burgundy in 524; but his grandmother Clotilda brought up him and his two brothers Theobald and Gunthaire at Paris, and loved them extremely.
Their ambitious uncles Childebert, king of Paris, and Clotaire king of Soissons, dividing the kingdom of Orleans betwixt them and stabbed with their own hands the two elder of their nephews, Theobald and Gunthaire, the former being ten, the latter seven years old. Cloud, by a special providence was saved from the massacre, and cut off his hair with his own hands, by that ceremony renouncing the world, and devoting himself to the service of God in a monastic state. He had many fair opportunities of recovering his father”s kingdom; but, young as he was, he saw by the light of grace all that appears most dazzling in worldly greatness is no better than smoke, and that a Christian gains infinitely more by losing than by possessing it. After some time he removed from his first abode to put himself under the discipline of St. Severinus, a holy recluse who lived near Paris, from whose hands he received the monastic habit. Under this experienced master the fervent novice made great progress in Christian perfection; but the neighborhood of Paris being a trouble to him, who desired nothing so much as to live unknown to the world, he withdrew secretly into Provence, where he passed several years, and wrought many miracles.
Seeing he gained nothing by the remoteness of his solitude, after his hermitage was once made public by many resorting to him, he at length returned to Paris, and was received with the greatest joy imaginable. At the earnest request of the people he was ordained priest by Eusebius, bishop of Paris, in 551, and served that church some time in the functions of the sacred ministry. He afterward retired to Nogent on the Seine, now called St. Cloud, two leagues below Paris, where he built a monastery dependent on the church of Paris. In this monastery he assembled many pious men, who fled out of the world for fear of losing their souls in it. St. Cloud was regarded by them as their superior, and he animated them to all virtue both by word and example. All his inheritance he bestowed on churches, or distributed among the poor; the village of Nogent he settled on the episcopal see of Paris as is mentioned in the letters patent, by which this place was erected into a dutchy and peerage in favor of the archbishop.
Saint Cloud was indefatigable in instructing and exhorting the people of the neighboring country, and piously ended his days at Nogent about the year 560. He is commemorated in the Roman Martyrology on the 7th of September, which seems to have been the day of his death. The monastery has been since changed into a collegiate church of canons, where the relics of the saint are still kept, and the place bears his name.
(Adapted from Fr. Butler’s Lives of the Saints)
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