Lives of Saints and Blesseds


January 14
St. Godfrey of Cappenberg, * c. 1097, † January 13, 1127

Godfrey took his lineage from the Counts of Cappenberg in Westphalia, who were related to the Salians and Staufers. After his participation in the siege and destruction of Münster, Westphalia, in 1121, together with his brother Otto, he handed over the fortress of Cappenberg to St. Norbert on May 31, 1122. This was done contrary to the desires of his father-in-law, Count Frederick of Arnsberg. This resulted in the first foundation of the Premonstratensian Order in Germany. Further provostries developed on Godfrey’s properties in 1123 at Ilbenstadt (Wetterau) and in 1128 at Varlar near Coesfeld (Westphalia). His wife Judith and his sisters Godberg and Beatrice entered the house of canonesses at Cappenberg. Around 1200 this women’s cloister was moved to Oberndorf near Wesel. After the death of Count Frederick both brothers were vested in the white habit in 1124. At Cappenberg Godfrey set up a hospital for the poor and needy. Here he himself actively shared in the work. In 1125 Norbert called his follower to Prémontré, where he was ordained an acolyte, and later to Magdeburg. Due to reasons of health Godfrey soon had to return to Ilbenstadt where he died on January 13, 1127 not even 30 years old.

Relics: Cappenberg and Ilbenstadt
Approbation of cult: In 1614 for Cappenberg, January 22/March 8, 1728 by Benedict XIII.
Representation: as a count/knight, as a Premonstratensian, with crown laid aside, model of a church, bread basket and skull, kneeling before an angel with cross and crown, an orb at his feet, with scepter and a garland of pearls, with an appearance of the child Jesus who places a crown on him.

Almighty God, who strengthened St. Godfrey, so that, despising everything he possessed, he might happily attain to You, grant that we too, renouncing the riches of the world and its glory, may find our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.