January 8: St. Thorfinn
The details of St. Thorfinn's life were discovered long after his death. He died in 1285, in a monastery in Belgium. Fifty years later, his tomb was accidentally opened during some construction work. Everyone was surprised by the strong, pleasant smell that came out of his coffin. The abbot started investigating. He found one elderly monk, Walter de Muda, who remembered Thorfinn. In fact, Father Walter had been so impressed with Thorfinn's gentle goodness and firmness, that he had written a poem about him. Walter had placed the poem with Thorfinn in the tomb. The monks went to look for the poem. They found the parchment just as new and fresh as the day it had been put there.
The monks felt this was a sign that God wanted Thorfinn to be remembered and honored. People started praying to him and miracles began to happen. Father Walter was asked to write whatever he could remember about Thorfinn. He wrote that Thorfinn had come from Norway. As a priest he probably had served at the cathedral. It seems that Thorfinn had signed an important document while at the cathedral. He had been a witness to the Agreement of Tonsberg in 1277. This agreement between King Magnus VI and the archbishop freed the Church from state control. But a few years later, King Eric rejected the agreement. He turned against the archbishop and those who had supported him. The archbishop was sent away and so was Thorfinn, who was now bishop of Hamar, Norway.
Thorfinn started a hard journey to Flanders. He was even shipwrecked on the trip. Finally, he arrived and went to live at the monastery where he later died. He visited Rome, but he returned very ill. Thorfinn didn't have much, but he divided a few possessions among his family members and some charitable groups. Then he died on January 8, 1285. The Catholics in Hamar, Norway, still honor St. Thorfinn and celebrate his feast day.
Some people live famous and well-known lives; others slip in and out of our lives without much notice. Take the time today to notice someone who usually doesn’t attract much attention.