Saint Sturm

From Academic Kids

Saint Sturm (Sturmius, Sturmi, Sturm) was a disciple of St. Boniface and founder and first abbot of the Benedictine monastery and abbey of Fulda in 742 or 744. Sturm, whose tenure as abbot lasted from 747 until 779, was presumably born in about 705 in Lorch, Austria, and most likely related to the Agilofing dukes of Bavaria.

Sturm met St. Boniface in about 735 when the latter was carrying out the church reorganization in Bavaria and Austria (founding the bishoprics of Salzburg, Regensburg and Würzburg). He joined Boniface und was educated in the Benedictine monastery of Fritzlar by abbot St. Wigbert. He then was active as missionary in northern Hesse, where in 736 he established a monkish settlement in Haerulfisfeld (Hersfeld). Ordained in 740 as priest in Fritzlar, Boniface instructed him in 744 to establish a monastery in the region of Eichloha which had been granted to Boniface by the Frankish major domo' Carloman. In the ruins of a 6th century Merovingian royal base, destroyed 50 years earlier by the Saxons, at a ford across the Fulda river, Sturm established the monastery.

Following studies at St. Benedict's monastery in Monte Cassino in 747-748, Sturm was named first abbot of the Fulda monastery by Boniface. In 751, Boniface and his disciple and successor Lullus obtained an exemption for Fulda, having it placed directly under the Papal See and making it independent of interference by bishops or worldly princes. After the death of St. Boniface, this led to serious conflicts between Lullus, then bishop of Mainz, and abbot Sturmius. Nevertheless, Sturm prevailed over the bishops of Mainz and Utrecht in having Boniface, Apostle of the Germans, buried in Fulda after his murder in 754 near Lokkum in Frisia. This made Fulda a major place of pilgrimage, including by Anglo-Saxons, and brought much prestige and a stream of gifts and donations to Fulda.

Building on this success, Sturm was able to fend off efforts by the bishops of Mainz and Würzburg to invalidate the abbey's exemption. Sturm was sent into exile from 763 to 765 at Jumièges (Normandy), but was rehabilitated in 765 by the Merovingian king Pippin, and in 774 the Abbey of Fulda received royal protection by Charlemagne. In the same year, Fulda was assigned missionary territories in Saxony, where Sturm established the abbey of St. Boniface at Hameln (Hamelin). In 779, Sturm accompanied Charlemagne into Saxony, but he fell ill and died soon after returning to Fulda on 17 December 779, where he was buried in the cathedral.

Sturm was canonized in 1139 by Pope Innocence II.

His life was recorded in the Vita Sturmi by the fourth abbot of Fulda, Eigil [1] (http://www.bautz.de/bbkl/e/eigil.shtml) († 822), a relative of his who was monk in Fulda for over 20 years under abbot Sturm.


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