If you love craft beers, then you are probably quite familiar with the Benedictine monks and the influence that they have on brewing. Yet, you might not know about one particular Benedictine monk, Saint Arnold of Soissons, who truly revolutionized the art of brewing and became one of the first Catholic saints recognized for beer miracles.
The Rise and Fall of Arnulf
Saint Arnulf–better known as Saint Arnold of Soissons–was born in Flanders, Belgium in the year 1040. He relocated to France and became a soldier until approximately 1060, after which he joined the Roman Catholic Order of Saint Benedict.
During his first three years as a Benedictine monk, Arnulf was a stubborn hermit who only occasionally left his tiny monastery cell. Even though he preferred to be reclusive, his monastery called him to be an abbot, and then a priest. When the church ordered him to take on the role of bishop, he reluctantly took the position.
Arnulf did not serve as bishop long when a rival monk challenged him for his diocese. Arnulf relocated back to Flanders and formed his own abbey in Oudenberg, and it was here that his legacy truly began.
The Beginning of the Brewery
in 1080, Arnulf devised an advanced brewery in his abbey and encouraged the town locals to drink beer instead of water. This is because, in those days, the water was incredibly unhealthy and saturated with various bacterium. Arnulf boiled the water in the brewing process, so he was right in telling the townsfolk that his beer was healthier than the water.
For the Catholic church to canonize a person, one thing that the person must do is witness a miracle: The roof of Arnulf’s brewery collapsed, destroying all of the beer within it. Fortunately, there was a small stash of beer that was intended for consumption by the Benedictine monks alone.
Arnulf prayed that God would take the small, remaining beer supply and multiply it so that the townspeople, who now depended on Arnulf’s beer for their hydration, would have enough to drink. Amazingly, the beer multiplied beyond that which the town needed, and it was not only Arnulf who witnessed this miracle, but also the entire town.
After Arnulf passed away in 1087, the Catholic church investigated him and considered whether it should canonize him. In 1121, the Roman Catholic church canonized him as Saint Arnold of Soissons. Best of all, he was named the patron saint of hops-pickers and beer brewers.
If you want to know more about the legacy of beer that continues on and that helped supply a town as in this story, contact a company like Pacific Wine Merchants with any help you need.