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Saint Hubert

Born in the year 656 in the French town of Toulouse, Saint Hubertus was the oldest son of the Duke of Aquitaine (named Bertrand). Saint Hubert went to the court of Theuderic III (King of Neustria, the western portion of the Kingdom of the Franks). At the court, Saint Hubertus grew to be a trusted friend of many of the court and followed many of the nobility when they emigrated to the court of Austrasia at Metz. In the year 682, he married the daughter of the Count of Leuven, a woman named Floribanne. His overwhelming joy at her pregnancy turned into a deep, life changing despair when she died giving birth to his son.

He left the city and took up a solitary life of hunting in the Ardennes forest . One day, he caught site of a stag and chased it deep into the forest. When it turned to face him, he realized the tag had a crucifix between it's antlers. Suddenly he heard a mysterious voice tell him:

"Hubert, unless thou turnest to the Lord, and leadest an holy life, thou shalt quickly go down into hell"

He prostrated himself immediately, yelling aloud "Lord what wouldst Thou have me do". The answer came quickly and clearly:

"Go and seek Lambert, and he will instruct you."

Saint Hubert left the forest at once and arrived in the town of Maastricht. In the town, the Bishop received him with love - Bishop Lambert. The conversion was complete and total - Saint Hubert renounced all of his lands and titles and named his brother Odo the guardian of his young infant son. He studied theology under Bishop Lambert and was soon ordained. In 708, Saint Hubert left for pilgrimage for Rome. Tradition Holds that in Rome, the Pope received a vision of Bishop Lambert's upcoming assassination and an order to name Saint Hubert the new Bishop of Maastricht. On the way back from Rome, Saint Lambert was indeed assassinated by followers of Pepin and Saint Hubert was named Bishop.

He moved the see from Maastricht to Liege and Saint Hubert was named the first Bishop there. He was very famous here for his missionary work to the Pagans in the Ardennes forest, evangelizing them and converting many to Christianity. He died peacefully in a town named Fura, about 30 miles from Liege on May 30th, 727 and his remains moved to the Benedictine Abbey of Amdain in 835. This Abbey was extremely famous for many pilgrimages but began to stop when Saint Hubert's coffin disappeared during the reformation.

In Saint Hubert's vision in the forest, the deer told Saint Hubert to hold animals in high regard and have compassion for them as God's creations. This legacy continued on and the lessons he taught are now taught in German and Austrian hunter education courses (for example, only shooting at an animal when a clean shot with a quick death is assured, to never shoot a female if it's young are following them, and to relinquish trophy shots for the possibility of putting down a sick or injured animal later). The last direct heirs of Saint Hubert are huntsmen in French who are bringing back a revival of riding to hounds (Chasse a courre), a type of hunting that utilizes a specific set of ethics, rituals and tactics. The opening of these ceremonies contains a minute of veneration to Saint Hubert.

Several military orders were named after him including the highest military order of Bavaria and the Bohemian International Order of Saint Hubertus. He is considered one of the Four Holy Marshals in the Rhineland and is the patron saint of archers, dogs, forest workers, huntsmen and the city of Liege.

The alcohol Jagermeister has a symbol of Saint Hubert in it's logo. From their website, the company writes:

Only a legendary stag’s head would suffice, one with a beaming cross between its antlers. The stag that appeared to a wild hunter and converted him to Christianity. The same hunter who would later become the patron saint of all hunters: Saint Hubertus.
This stag remains today, as it always has been, the Jägermeister trademark. A symbol of the preservation of our quality and tradition.
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