Feast Day: November 8
Born: 1066 :: Died: 1115
Godfrey was born at Soissons in France. From the age of 5, he was raised in the Benedictine abbey of Mont-Saint-Quentin where his godfather Godefroid was the abbot (like a parish priest). At the abbey Godfrey was immediately given a Benedictine habit and he lived as a tiny monk. The monks there educated him.
When he became of age he became a monk and then a priest. He was chosen to be abbot of the monastery in Champagne, France. The monastery was run-down and weeds had taken over. Only six monks and two children remained.
The monks liked Godfrey. They realized that he was a holy man and admitted that he could help them find again the joy of a self-sacrificing life. Soon the eager community attracted new candidates who joined them. The abbey of Champagne became a center of prayer and spiritual joy.
Then Godfrey was made an archbishop. He was given the well-known diocese of Rheims, in France. He did not want to leave the small monastery but knew, 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 and his food was plain. Once in a while, his cook prepared food that seemed to him too fancy and rich. Godfrey would wait until the cook went out on errands. Then he would call in the poor people who lived nearby and give them the food to take home to their families.
Archbishop Godfrey suffered because he was very strict and would not tolerate drunkenness or other wrongdoing by his parishioners. When Godfrey tried to correct these people, some of them began to hate him. 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. Godfrey longed to resign as a Bishop and retire as a monk so he could live alone with God. But before he could resign, he died at the age of fifty.
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