Feast Day: January 08
Born: (around) 1230 :: Died: 1285
The Church found out about St. Thorfinn's life long after he had died. Fifty years later, his tomb was opened by accident during some construction work to renovate the church. Everyone was surprised by the strong, pleasant smell that came out of his coffin.
The abbot started making enquiries about Thorfinn. He found one elderly monk, Walter de Muda, who knew Thorfinn. In fact, Father Walter had been so impressed with Thorfinn's gentle goodness, patience, generosity and firmness against the evil and ungodly, 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 and 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 around his tomb. Father Walter was asked to write whatever he could remember about Thorfinn.
Thorfinn had come from Norway and was a Cistercian monk at the abbey of Tautra. Later he had probably served at the cathedral as a priest. 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 set the Church free from state control. But a few years later, King Eric rejected the agreement and 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 abbey of TerDoest in Flanders, Belgium.
He made a pilgrimage to Rome, but he returned to the abbey very ill. Before he died on January 8, 1285, Thorfinn divided the few possessions he had among his family members and some charitable groups.
Then in a monastery in Belgium. Reports of St. Thorfinn's holiness and the miracles at his tomb soon spread devotion to him among the Cistercians and Catholics in Hamar, Norway. Today Norwegians 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.
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