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Born in Vannes, Brittany, France; died c. 554. Here is another saint of whose childhood we know next to nothing, except that he was of Irish and English descent and lived in Brittany. He comes out of the unknown and enters, as it were, another unknown--for after renouncing the fortune of his father, he enters the cloistered life, giving himself to prayer and silence and solitude.

At the age of 35, he was abbot of Tincillac Monastery near Angers. The stories that come down to us show one thing quite clearly: He is a man who detests anything that is adulterated, whether it be the Rule of St. Benedict, the sacraments of the Christian faith, or the human body. We might say of him that his mouth never lost its taste for spring water.

In 529 the people of Angers succeeded in having Albinus chosen as their bishop, not so much because they respected his concern for their faith but because they knew his upright character would protect them well against the civil and military authorities. These people knew how to pick someone to protect their interests.

Albinus soon came into conflict with Childebert, the son of Clovis. A certain noble lady named Etheria, unable to pay her debts, was thrown into prison, and called for her bishop to visit her. Bishops like Albinus have the sacraments in their blood, in their muscles, in their hands, in their mouths, in their very gestures; so that when Etheria and Albinus were attacked by one of the guards, Albinus simply blew a puff of breath upon the guard who (tradition says) died upon the spot.

If the story is true, or even if it were untrue but believed in locally, it is not hard to understand how the authority and fear of Albinus spread rapidly throughout the territory, or to explain why the creditors cancelled the debts of all prisoners at the simple suggestion of the new bishop.

Albinus's next project was to release all the prisoners from another jail at Angers, not that he failed to recognise the inmates were criminals rather than gentle lambs, but because he lost faith in the prison system, at least the one in his see.

He went to the judge and requested amnesty; but when he was refused, he convoked a huge gathering of his flock about the prison, led everyone in prayer until a huge stone was released, which plunged through the walls of the jail. Out came the prisoners, like water through a spout, to be led to the bishop's church where they were busy with prayers and promises of amendment through the night.

No biographer has ever suggested that these prisoners to a man were converted into saints, but the bishop no doubt believed their release was considerably better than the brutality of prison life in those days.

Albinus convoked local councils, reformed his church, fought abuses in civil and ecclesiastical marriage laws, and opposed errors of faith. He took a prominent role in the third council of Orleans in 538. His popularity is beyond dispute as is shown by the very number of towns named for him. Legend reports that whole villages were converted and baptized together as a result of his preaching.

Albinus did not die a martyr, rather his body simply wore out. The abbey of Saint-Aubin in Angers was erected in his memory. Saint-Aubin de Moeslain (Haute Marne) is even today a popular place of pilgrimage (Benedictines, Encyclopaedia).

In art, St. Albinus is portrayed as a blind bishop. He is venerated at Angers, Brittany, Haute Marne, and is invoked for children in danger of death (Roeder).

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