His father was an officer in the armies of King Dagobert, and the Saint spent some years in the court of King Clotaire III and of his mother, St. Bathildes. But Wulfran occupied his heart only with God, despising worldly greatness as empty and dangerous, and daily advancing in virtue. His estate of Maurilly he bestowed on the Abbey of Fontenelle, or St. Vandrille, in Normandy. He was chosen and consecrated Archbishop of Sens in 682, which diocese he governed two years and a half with great zeal and sanctity.
A tender compassion for the blindness of the idolaters of Friesland, and the example of the English zealous preachers in those parts, moved him to resign his bishopric, with proper advice, and after a retreat at Fontenelle to enter Friesland as a poor missionary priest. He baptized great multitudes, among them a son of King Radbod, and drew the people from the barbarous custom of sacrificing men to idols.
On a certain occasion, one Ovon having been selected as a victim of a sacrifice to the heathen gods, St. Wulfran earnestly begged his life of King Radbod; but the people ran tumultuously to the palace, and would not suffer what they called a sacrilege. After many words they consented, but on condition that Wulfran’s God should save Ovon’s life.The Saint betook himself to prayer; the man, after hanging on the gibbet two hours, and being left for dead, fell to the ground by the breaking of the cord; being found alive he was given to the Saint, and became a monk and priest at Fontenelle.
Wulfran also miraculously rescued two children from being drowned in honor of the idols. Radbod, who had been an eye-witness to this last miracle, promised to become a Christian; but as he was going to step into the baptismal font he asked where the great number of his ancestors and nobles were in the next world. The Saint replied that hell is the portion of all who die guilty of idolatry; at which the prince refused to be baptized, saying he would go with the greater number. This tyrant sent afterwards to St. Willibrord to treat with him about his conversion, but before the the Saint’s arrival, Radbod was found dead. St. Wulfran retired to Fontenelle that he might prepare himself for death, and expired there on the 20th of April, 720.
Reflection.—In every age the Catholic Church is a missionary church. She has received the world for her inheritance, and in our own days many missionaries have watered with their blood the lands in which they labored. Help the propagation of the faith by alms, and above all by prayers. You will quicken your own faith and gain a part in the merits of the glorious apostolate.