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01 June 2006

GRANDPOP ARNIE


S

aint Arnold was born to a prominent Austrian family in the year 580. Even back in those days the Austrians were famous for their love of beer, and admired for their brewing prowess. Beer was a proud Austrian tradition that was not wasted on young Arnold.

I can call him Grandpop Arnie, because he is my 40th great grandfather. See chart.

Saint Arnold was born to parents who belonged to a distinguished Frankish family in the Chateau of Lay-Saint-Christophe in the old French diocese of Toul, north of Nancy.

In school he excelled through his talent and his good behavior. He was sent to the court of Theodebert II, King of Austrasia to be initiated in the various branches of the government. Under the guidance of Gundulf, the Mayor of the Palace, he was placed on the regular list of royal officers, and among the first of the king's ministers. He distinguished himself both as a military commander and in the civil administration; at one time he had under his care six distinct provinces.

Arnulf was married to a Frankish woman of noble lineage named "Grandma" Doda with whom he had two sons, Anseghisel and Clodulphe. Clodulphe was later called Saint Cloud, and Anseghisel married Begga, daughter of Pepin de Landen. Anseghisel and Begga are the great-great-grandparents of Charlemagne, and as such, Saint Arnulph is the oldest known ancestor of the Carolingian dynasty.

Doda became a nun, and Arnulph made plans to enter a monastery. But, as is still true today, life is what happens while you're making other plans. Arnulph became bishop of Metz, France, in 612. In his new position he set the example of a virtuous life to his subjects. In 613, after the death of Theodebert, he, with Pepin of Landen and other nobles, called to Austrasia Clothaire II, King of Neustria. He later also served as counselor to Dagobert, King Clothaire's son.

Arnulph spent his holy life warning peasants about the dangers of drinking water. Beer was safe, and "from man's sweat and God's love, beer came into the world." The people revered Arnulph (no wonder!).

He is said to have spent his life warning peasants about the health hazards of drinking water. Water was not necessarily safe to drink during the dark ages, especially around towns and villages. Nasty stuff. Arnold always had the well-being of his followers close at heart.

Beer, on the other hand, was quite safe. Arnold frequently pointed this out to his congregation. He is credited with having once said, "From man's sweat and God's love, beer came into the world." It goes without saying that the people loved and revered Arnold.

In 627, Saint Arnold retired to a monastery near Remiremont, France, where he died 16 August and was buried in 640.

In 641, the citizens of Metz requested that Saint Arnold's body be exhumed and carried from the monastery to the town of Metz for reburial in their local church - The church where Arnold had so frequently preached the virtues of beer. Their request was granted.

It was a long and thirsty journey, especially since they were carrying a dead bishop. As the ceremonial procession passed through the town of Champignuelles, the tired processionals stopped for a rest and went into a tavern for a drink of their favorite beverage - Beer. Much to their dismay, they were informed that there was only one mug of beer left, and that they would have to share it. That mug never ran dry and the thirsty crowd was satisfied.

Every Saint needs a miracle. That's how the Church decides you are a Saint. The story of the miracle mug of beer spread and eventually Arnold was canonized by the Catholic Church for it.

Saint Arnold is recognized by the Catholic Church as the Patron Saint of Brewers. So gang, now that the hot summer months are upon us and traditionally a lot of beer drinking goes on, remember to stock up on old Saint Arnold's beer, which I might add is brewed right here in Houston. And when you take that first refreshing drink of Granpop... err... Saint Arnie's, remember me!

Observations and Questions
One of these days I'll get over to the Saint Arnold Brewery and give them the family stamp of approval. Grandpop would have wanted it that way. Snif.. snif... I miss him so... Have you ever tried St. Arnold's beer? What is your favorite beer?

EXTRA COMMENTS
The other day I wrote about decisions we make and how they effect our lives. It just dawned on me that if Sophia van Lodenstein had not made the major decision to leave Holland and come to America, I wouldn't be sitting here today telling you this story.

According to an article in the New York Genealogical and Biographical publication "The Record" for the year 1935 pages 376-381 by William Hoffman. As Hoffamn says about Carel's wife, Sophia van Lodensteyn, "Nobody among the 17th century Dutch settlers in New Amsterdam could boast an equally distinguished Dutch ancestry." She is decended from many burgers and nobles of Holland, including the Counts of Holland and Hainault. Sophia's great Uncle, Jan van Lodensteyn, was a director of the Dutch East India company and represented the city of Delft as a sponsor at the baptism of Prince William II of Orange (the father of William, King of England.) The New Church in Delft contains graves of Sophia's ancestors. Many have been vandalized during the French Revolution-especially the van der Meer crypt.

Birth Announcements and Dusty Death Notices
Born this day in 1926 Marilyn Monroe [Norma Jean Baker], actress (Some Like It Hot). And in the death notices we find 1968 Helen Keller blind & deaf, dies at 87.
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