Friday, November 6, 2020




I don’t care who you are or what your work is, there is always some stress. Psychologists tell us that a certain amount of stress in our lives is good, as it basically keeps us going by challenging us.  But too much stress?  In these days of an on-going pandemic, it can be too much for the best of us.  So who can we turn to?


ST. WALTER of PONTOISE  was an 11th-century Benedictine monk who is recognized today as the patron saint of people experiencing job-related stress. He himself experienced his fair share of job-related stress. He longed for a life of solitude, but he kept being appointed to leadership positions in his community. 

St. Walter, born in France was an intelligent and devout man, becoming a professor of philosophy and rhetoric. He then felt called to the religious life and become a Benedictine monk at Rebais-en-Brie.

 King Philip noticed his natural abilities and appointed him abbot of a monastery in Pontoise against his will. Walter didn’t have much of a choice, so he obediently accepted his new position.

Life wasn’t easy as the discipline at the monastery when he arrived was horrid. Because of his dedication to monastic life, many of the monks were angry, so  they captured and imprisoned him. He was eventually released and resumed the work he began, devoting himself more to prayer, asking God to grant him the strength to persevere. 

St. Walter fled several times from the monastery because he couldn’t deal with the stress of the situation. 

At one point, Walter left his position at Pontoise to become a monk at Cluny under Hugh  (St. Hugh (d. 1109), sometimes called Hugh the Great, was the Abbot of Cluny from 1049 until his death. He was one of the most influential leaders of the monastic orders from the Middle Ages.) but he was forced to return to Pontoise.  

A story told of him, was that he once took the road to Touraine and hid himself on an island in the Loire, before being led back to the abbey. He also escaped to an oratory near Tours dedicated to Sts. Cosmas and Damian before being recognized by a pilgrim there. Poor man, he just never gave up  trying to avoid his  duties. 

He even fled as far as Rome, delivering a written letter of resignation to Pope Gregory VII, but the Holy Father turned him back and said he was forbidden to run away from his monastery ever again.

After coming back to Pontoise, Walter worked hard to combat corruption and the lack of discipline among his monks and the clergy of the region. He faced the same ordeals of St. Benedictine in the early monasteries he was put in charge of.

With grace, St. Walter embraced his responsibilities using his God-given talents. St. Walter is a good intercessor to help you get through any stress that work is causing for you.


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