St Drogo

(also known as Druon) (entered heaven this day in 1186)

Dear Drake,

Well, I think it’s safe to say that your junior year has been a resounding success.  That means, of course, that your senior year is going to be extremely busy.  You will be the target of many desires, and your presence will be required and requested at an endless chain of meetings, events, and special occasions.  You will have hundreds of chances to spread the “sweet aroma of Christ” (as St Paul puts it) among many people whom Christ has eagerly been hoping to reach.  I am sure your successes will continue.  But I would also like to make sure you don’t let it go to your head.  Remember, my bright young nephew, the only thing that will make it into heaven is what you do for God and what you do for your neighbors.  I think the example of today’s saint can help you keep first things first.

Drogo started out with a silver spoon in his mouth, as they say.  His parents were from the Flemish nobility, but his father died before he was born, and he lost his mother while she was giving him birth.  He was raised by his relatives, and had all the privileges of an aristocratic upbringing.  Yet the trappings of power and pleasure that surrounded him on all sides failed to dull his heart.  From a young age he kept that just for Christ.  By the time he turned twenty, he was convinced that God was calling him to a life dedicated entirely to prayer and penance.  So he renounced his inheritance in favor of the next of kin, donned a poor pilgrim’s cassock, and set out to serve God in humility and poverty, as Christ himself had done.

He visited shrines and churches, where he praised and contemplated the wonderful works of God, and eventually hired himself out as a shepherd on an estate owned by a noble and virtuous lady outside a small city near the modern-day border between France and Belgium.  The work enabled him to live always in the presence of God, to pray and to do penance, and he desired nothing more.  But his virtue soon became known.  The local people began coming to him for advice, and for prayers.  Soon they started giving him gifts (which he distributed to the sick and those who were poorer than himself) and revering him as a holy man – and so he once again put on his pilgrim’s garb and took to the road.

He visited Rome various times, and stopped in monasteries and other holy places, doing his best to imitate Christ’s humility and poverty.  Towards the end of his life bad health forced him to curtail his travels, and he returned to his shepherd’s town.  There he built a hut next to the local church, so that he could live close to the altar, and ended his days as he had lived them – near to God himself, and inspiring everyone around him to come nearer to God as well.

In the eyes of the world, Drogo accomplished nothing.  He received no public awards or university honors.  And yet, in the eyes of God, he was a resounding success.  In the eyes of God… Keep trying to see everything you do from that perspective, and the devil won’t have a chance of sidetracking you.

Your loving uncle,


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