Saint Hubert is the Patron Saint of all hunters, archers, dogs, mathematicians, opticians, and metal workers.
The story behind Saint Hubert, celebrated on the 3rd of November every year, is quite interesting. He went from a life of luxury and pure opulence to a life of priesthood and servitude. Saint Hubert symbolizes hard work, determination, and strength to carry out the calling upon your life, even in difficult times.
Please read below to learn more about the great Saint Hubert's life and death and why he is so revered.
The Early Life of Saint Hubert
Saint Hubert came from a long line of royalty and great wealth. It is alleged that Hubert was the grandson of Charibert, who once ruled as the King of Toulouse and had the honor of being the eldest son of Bertrand, the supposed Duke of Aquitane.
Saint Hubert was born between 656-705 A.D. in Maastricht, France. Here, he earned his reputation for indulging in all of the finer and more sensual pleasures of the time.
Growing up, Hubert grew accustomed to the royal courts and life of grandeur. He soon earned himself a reputation as a knowledgeable yet promiscuous young man who frequented the courts of Neustria, located in the North of France. However, Hubert was as well known for his work in mathematics and metalwork as he was for his love of hunting and archery.
Armed with a bow and arrow, Hubert was always known to bring in a bountiful feast, and his excellent aim drew the attention of many parties who frequented the chase of hunting prey with him. After earning himself quite the reputation in his youth, Hubert was soon sent to navigate the territory of Austria, as it was a newly established border between the more modern France and Germany.
The Life of Saint Hubert
Shortly after moving to Austria, Hubert met Floribanne, the daughter of Dagobert, who maintained the position of the count of Louvain. The two married and had one son, Saint Floribert.
After moving to Austria, Saint Hubert continued his passion for hunting, often drawing large hunting parties to enjoy the thrill of the chase together. However, one of these hunting parties, which coincidentally fell during Good Friday, changed Saint Hubert's life irrevocably.
It is said that while the other church patrons were celebrating Good Friday, Saint Hubert was chasing a deer while on horseback and accompanied by his hounds and his men. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, he dismounted from his horse once Hubert had cornered the majestic stag.
The stag stopped and turned to look at him. Hubert reported having a vision once the stage turned around. The vision was of a deer with a crucifix suspended between its antlers. Saint Hubert also said that he heard a voice in his vision telling him, "Hubert unless you turn to the Lord and lead a holy life, you shall fall quickly into the abyss of Hell!"
After hearing this, Hubert immediately dismounted from his horse and laid down with his head bowed, and arms stretched out to ask what the Lord would have him do within the vision. In his vision, the Lord replied, "Go forth and seek Lambert; he will instruct you." So, Hubert immediately followed the instructions he had received in his vision.
Lambert was the Bishop of Maastricht and soon welcomed Hubert into his fellowship with open arms as he became a spiritual advisor to Hubert. However, tragedy struck soon after Hubert decided to pursue his spiritual journey as his wife, Floribanne, died giving birth to their son Floribert.
After his wife's death, Hubert devoted his entire life and focus to the church. He did this by renouncing all of the previous titles that had been bestowed upon him. In the end, Hubert gave up his military ranking and titles, including his birthright as the future Duke of Aquitane, to follow his passion for the church. Hubert's younger brother, Eudon, inherited the title of Duke of Aquitane and was honored as his nephew's Godfather.
Other versions of history say that Lambert taught Saint Hubert the art of self-discipline by forcing him as a hermit in the Ardennes for a period.
A Life Well Lived
Once Hubert chose the way of the church, he redistributed all of his wealth and assets among the poor and began his studies to obtain priesthood. He got ordained as a priest and soon rose in the church's ranks to become one of Lambert's associates in the administration under Lambert's care.
Under the instructions and advice of Lambert, Hubert went on a pilgrimage to Rome to meet with the Pope. During his reception with the Pope, the Pope purportedly had a vision of the impending assassination of Lambert, and as a result, he ordained Hubert as a new Bishop. Thus, Hubert became the new bishop to replace Lambert upon his return to Maastricht. Hubert, the 31st bishop, became of Maastricht and eventually became the first bishop of Liege. Saint Hubert was also known as the "Apostle of the Ardennes."
It is said that Saint Hubert received another vision, after which he moved the body of his beloved mentor Lambert to Liege to defend his memory. Once he moved Lambert's body, Saint Hubert established a church in Liege and became the first Bishop of Liege.
According to the legends and stories surrounding that period, Saint Hubert risked his life to penetrate some of the last remaining areas and worshippers of paganism in his pursuit of "saving souls." After establishing his new church, it is said that Saint Hubert had another vision, but one of his impending death.
Despite his vision, he continued preaching his sermons and fell sick shortly afterward. Saint Hubert is said to have died six days after receiving his final vision in Fura on the 30th of May, 727 A.D.
Saint Hubert was known for performing many miracles as a priest. Including exorcising those said to be possessed by demons and curing various cases of rabies after making a cross over the victims. Until they found the cure for rabies, people of many faiths, Catholics and Christians alike, called on the name of Saint Hubert (St. Hubert) for their loved ones to receive healing from the disease.
The Story Behind The Stag and The Crucifix
The presence and history of Saint Hubert are still very present today and can be seen represented by Saint Hubert's symbol, the symbol of a stag with a cross or a crucifix between its antlers.
The stag with the crucifix has become synonymous with a badge of honor in which hunters are involved. The symbol was even included on the lid or caps of the alcoholic beverage Jägermeister. Jägermeister is directly translated to mean "Master Hunter" in German and is a badge or term that many hunters work passionately to receive.
Additionally, the term "Jägermeister" is awarded to hunters who have taken their hunting exams after years of apprenticeship.
Honoring All Life Forms
Saint Hubert did more than just become a Patron Saint for hunters, mathematicians, opticians, and all others under his domain. He is loved for his work and honored by the sport of hunting. In Saint Hubert's time, feasts were held to celebrate the passing of one life to another as the energy from the animal passed to the human after eating.
In this way, not only is the sport and passion that Saint Hubert had for hunting carried on, but his love and respect for the animal who had given its life was also continued. Saint Hubert went on to be a great example of dedication to the church but also an excellent way for future hunters to learn more about admiring and respecting animals.
So the next time you head out to chase the thrill of a hunt - keep Saint Hubert in mind. Remember to honor the animal's life with a small celebration, whether you do this through a prayer or a shout of glee to announce your kill.