Godfrey lived in the twelfth century. He received his education from the monks of Mont-Saint-Quentin. Godfrey became a monk and a priest. He was chosen to be abbot of the monastery in Champagne, France. The monastery was run-down and only six monks remained. The monks liked Godfrey. They realized that he was a holy man. They admitted that he could help them find again the joy of a self-sacrificing life. In a short while, the community was fervent and new candidates joined them. The abbey of Champagne became a center of prayer and spiritual joy.
Eventually, their abbot was consecrated an archbishop. He was given the well-known diocese of Rheims, France. He felt bad to leave the small monastery. He knew, though, that the Lord wanted him to reach out to the people of Rheims as well. He still lived like a simple monk. His house was poor but clean. His food was plain. Once in a while, his cook prepared food that seemed to him too fancy. Godfrey would wait until the cook was out on errands. Then he would call in the poor people who lived nearby. He would give them the food to take home to their families.
Archbishop Godfrey suffered because of the abuses in his diocese. Some things going on were very wrong. When Godfrey tried to correct those involved, his corrections were resented at times. One person even tried to kill him. It was then that Godfrey wondered if he was doing more harm than good. But people with good will appreciated and loved him. Before he could resign, he died. It was November, 1115.
Sometimes even our best efforts can draw the resentment of others. At these times, we can find our strength to carry on in the example of Jesus, in whose footsteps Godfrey so closely followed.