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Founder and first abbot of obazine (Corrèze, France); b. Vierjo near Limoges, c. 1085; d. Bonaigue, March 8, 1159. A secular priest of humble origin, Stephen became a hermit under the influence of a disciple of Robert of Arbrissel. In the forest of Obazine, he founded a community that in 1142, after having adopted the Rule of St. Benedict, became Obazine Abbey. Under Stephen's direction, this prosperous abbey founded several daughter abbeys and a convent for nuns; in 1147, the whole group joined the Cistercian Order. Stephen died in Bonaigue, one of his later foundations, but was buried in an ornate sarcophagus at Obazine where his body remains intact. He was never officially canonized, but his immemorial cult was approved by Clement XI in 1701.

Feast: March 11.

Bibliography: Acta Sanctorum March 1:799808. g. mÜl ler, "Der Gründer der Abtei Obazine," CistercienserChronik 40 (1928). s. lenssen, Hagiologium cisterciense, 2 vol. (Tilburg 194849) 1:9296.

[l. j. lekai]

Stephen of Obazine, Bl.

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