Lives of Saints and Blesseds

April 26
St. Ludolph, Bishop, Martyr, * unknown, † March 29, 1250

Ludolph was a Premonstratensian canon in the episcopal church at Ratzeburg and for some time held the office of provisor there. In 1236 he was appointed bishop of Ratzeburg. He lived such a strict cloistered life with his confreres in the shadow of the cathedral that the monastery had the nickname “carcer ordinis” (prison of the Order). Ludolph put his entire energy into the service of the church, in that he preached and undertook pastoral visits. He is considered the co-founder of the monastery of Rehna in Mecklenburg. Pope Innocent IX entrusted him likewise with several political missions. His most difficult test as bishop must have been the conflicts with state authorities. Prince Albert of Saxsony-Lauenburg, the “Bear of Saxony”, took over several properties that belonged to the cathedral. Ludolph put up resistance, at which Albert had him thrown into prison and tortured. Conscious of the unpopularity of this action, Ludolph was released after a long imprisonment. He was brought to Prince John of Mecklenburg where he found refuge with the Franciscans of Wismar. Ludolph died on March 29, 1250 as a consequence of his imprisonment. He is venerated as a martyr for the rights and freedom of the Church.

Relics: Hamborn
Approbation of cult: March 20/April 12, 1728 by Benedict XIII.
Representation: as bishop, healing a young man with arrows in his head, in prison, with instruments of torture (rack, whip, axe, lance, sword and tackle hook) and palm of victory, with the appearance of Evermode and Isfried.

Lord God, who made St. Ludolph, bishop and martyr, a faithful herald of Your name, grant, we beseech You, that following in his footsteps, we may persevere untiringly in preaching Your Gospel to all and in building up the kingdom of Your charity. We ask this through 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.