Vitalis of Savigny, Bl.
VITALIS OF SAVIGNY, BL.
Abbot; b. Tierceville, near Bayeux, France, 1060–65; d. Savigny, Sept. 16, 1122. He was the founder of the Benedictine Congregation of savigny. About 1082 he became a chaplain to Robert, count of Mortain, the Conqueror's brother. After 1095 he lived as a hermit in the forest of Craon with other ascetics, including robert of arbrissel. Even then his fame as a preacher spread, and he visited England several times. Sometime after 1105 he went to the forest of Savigny where a number of disciples joined him. Their abbey was established most likely in 1112 and its rule seems to have been consciously modeled upon that of cÎteaux, stressing agricultural work, lay brothers, visitation, and general chapters. Savigny influenced both English and Norman monasticism for a quarter century after its founder's death—until the congregation merged with the cistercians in 1147.
Feast: Sept. 16 and Jan. 7.
Bibliography: Acta Sanctorum (Antwerp 1643–; Venice 1734–; Paris 1863–) Jan 1:389–390. Vitae BB. Vitalis et Gaufridi, ed. e. p. sauvage, b. de gaiffier, Analecta Bollandiana (Brussels 1882–) 1:355–390. c. auvry and a. laveille, Histoire de la congrégation de Savigny, 3 v. (Paris 1896–98). Rouleau mortuaire du bx. Vital, abbé de Savigne (Paris 1909). d. knowles, The Monastic Order in England, 943–1216 (2d ed. Cambridge, Eng. 1962) 202,227.
[e. j. kealey]