Saint Nicholas of Flüe, Unusual Hermit

March 21 is, for the Roman Catholic Church, the Feast of Saint Nicholas of Flüe (German: Niklaus von Flüe) (21 March 1417 – 21 March 1487) was a Swiss hermit and ascetic who is the patron saint of Switzerland. He is sometimes invoked as “Brother Klaus.”
Nicholas-Flue
He was born in the canton of Unterwalden, the son of wealthy peasants, and made himself distinguished as a soldier in action against the canton of Zurich, which had rebelled against the confederation. At around the age of 30, he married Dorothy Wiss, a farmer’s daughter. They farmed in the municipality of Flüeli in the alpine foothills, above Sachseln on the Lake Sarnen. He also continued in the military to the age of 37, rising to the position of captain, reportedly fighting with a sword in one hand and a rosary in the other. After serving in the military, he became a councillor and judge for his canton in 1459 and served as a judge for nine years. He declined the opportunity to serve as Landamman (governor) of his canton.
Nicholas' cell
After receiving a mystical vision of a lily eaten by a horse which he recognized as indicating that the cares of his worldly life (the draft horse pulling a plough) was swallowing up his spiritual life (the lily, a symbol of purity) he decided to devote himself entirely to the contemplative life. In 1467, he left his wife and his ten children with her consent and set himself up as a Hermit in the Ranft chine in Switzerland, establishing a Chantry for a Priest from his own funds so that he could assist at Mass daily. According to legend, he survived for nineteen years with no food except for the Eucharist. His reputation for wisdom and piety was such that figures from across Europe came to seek advice from him, and he was known to all as “Brother Klaus.”
Nicholas advising
Despite being illiterate and having limited experience with the world, his is honored among both Protestants and Catholics with the permanent national unity of Switzerland. When he died, he was surrounded by his wife and children.

See http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11062a.htm
http://www.helmut-zenz.de/hzflue.htm
http://www.traditioninaction.org/SOD/j066sdNicholasofFlue3-21.htm
http://www.svdp-richboro.org/niklaus.htm

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