Friday 2nd December 2022

Home » saints » Currently Reading:

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Hilary Of Poitiers

January 12, 2016 saints No Comments


In the fourth century, despite the results of the Council of Nicaea in 325, the Arian heresy spread throughout the Christian world. Not only did the emperor support the Arians, but many bishops and priests inside the Church also promoted the heresy. In God’s mercy and Providence, many holy men suffered persecution and even martyrdom to preach the Truth: Jesus Christ is one divine person having two natures, the human and the divine. These men included Saints Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory Nazianzus, Athanasius, Eusebius of Vercelli, and a Frenchman who was born into a pagan family, but became a doctor of the Church — St. Hilary of Poitiers.
Hilary, the son of prominent pagan parents, was born in western France in Poitiers around the year 310. Being from a family of distinction, Hilary received a classical education in the Latin and Greek scholars, including the Old and New Testaments. The more he studied the Sacred Scriptures, the more he recognized the inherent truth they contained. No other religion was as compatible with science and philosophy as were the Christian studies.
He continued to study for many years, thereby increasing his knowledge of Christianity and becoming more and more certain he wanted to become a Christian. In 345, St. Hilary, his wife, and his daughter were all baptized.
Hilary became well known as a great theologian and defender of all the truths of the faith. Therefore, when the bishop of Poitiers died, the people unanimously chose Hilary as their bishop. Although he was married, he accepted the position with the agreement that he and his wife would then live a celibate life.
As bishop a he adopted a lifestyle more like a monk than either a married man or a prelate. He lived simply, shedding his attachments to worldly possessions and pleasures. He spent time in study and prayer, which prepared him thoroughly for the fight he faced.
As a bishop, Hilary traveled to Arles to correct the errors of Arianism. One of his first acts as bishop was to excommunicate Saturninus, the bishop of Arles, and Ursacius and Valens who supported Saturninus, because of their promotion of the Arian heresy. These men continued to spread this error even though more than 20 years earlier, in 325, the Council of Nicaea condemned the Arians who denied the divinity of Christ.
Hilary also wrote to Constantius II, the emperor who also supported the Arians, because the Arians continued to persecute those who opposed their tenets. The bishops he excommunicated also wrote to Emperor Constantius, who then called a council in 356 to settle the dispute. The result was that Hilary was forced into exile to Phrygia in modern-day Turkey.
During his exile, Hilary continued to guide his diocese in Poitiers. Providentially, the exile enabled him to write some of the Church’s most detailed and profound documents on the Holy Trinity as a defense against the Arians, who held that the Son is a creature, and not eternal nor of the same substance with the Father.
He wrote On the Trinity quoting extensively from Sacred Scriptures to prove one of the most sublime mysteries of our Catholic faith.
As a good apologist, he worked harder to convert his sinners than he did to win the argument about Christ’s divinity. He excelled at this, earning the respect of those in error. Hilary believed most Arians were misguided or misinformed about the teachings of Christ’s two natures. In his discussions with them, he spoke with charity, patience, and humility.
He did not gloat when they accepted the teachings on the Holy Trinity. He welcomed them and encouraged them to live fully the teachings of Christ — especially on Christ’s eternal existence as one with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
In his zeal to put an end to the Arian heresy, Hilary even traveled to Constantinople to persuade the emperor to end his support of the Arians. He also met with the bishops there, but still his exile from Poitiers was not lifted.
Finally in 361, after Emperor Constantius II died, Hilary was allowed to return to Poitiers. Although he was banished because of his defense of Christ’s divinity, this time he was welcomed with much acclaim when he returned to his hometown in western France. The mood in his native land had changed. He had finished the race and persevered by the grace of God.
Hilary continued to head the Diocese of Poitiers, preaching and administering with integrity, firmness, and charity. During this time he also continued his theological writings which are why images of this saint usually show three books to the side and a quill pen in his hand.
He continued opposing the errors of Arianism. He denounced Auxentius, the bishop of Milan, who was eventually relieved of his post. This paved the way for his successor of whom Hilary greatly approved: St. Ambrose.
St. Monica visited St. Ambrose when he was bishop of Milan, and lamented the spiritual state of her son, Augustine. Largely through the influence of St. Ambrose, Augustine converted, and also became one of the most prolific writers in the history of the Church.
Another disciple of St. Hilary also became a saint — St. Martin of Tours. Hilary convinced him to build a monastery at Ligugé, and he handed on all of his teachings to Martin.
In 367, St. Hilary died at Poitiers. St. Augustine called him “the illustrious doctor of the churches.” In 1851, Pope Pius IX declared St. Hilary a doctor of the Church. His feast day is celebrated on January 13.
Dear St. Hilary, with intellectual honesty you studied the Greek and Latin scholars, including the Scriptures of the Christians. This led you to the one true Church whose teachings you ceaselessly defended for the rest of your life. Help us to study and to know the fullness of Truth so that we too may lead others closer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Amen.

+ + +

(Carole Breslin home-schooled her four daughters and served as treasurer of the Michigan Catholic Home Educators for eight years. For over ten years, she was national coordinator for the Marian Catechists, founded by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

"I'm afraid that the West will die. There are plenty of signs. You are invaded,still,by other cultures & peoples,who will progressively dominate you by their numbers and change your culture, your convictions, your morality."~ Cardinal Robert Sarah

Seems Biden is warning us of another Democratic sweep tonight? Hmmm!

Load More...

Vatican and USCCB leave transgender policy texts unpublished

While U.S. bishops have made headlines for releasing policies addressing gender identity and pastoral ministry, guidelines on the subject have been drafted but not published by both the U.S. bishops’ conference and the Vatican’s doctrinal office, leaving diocesan bishops to…Continue Reading

Biden says Pope Francis told him to continue receiving communion, amid scrutiny over pro-abortion policies

President Biden said that Pope Francis, during their meeting Friday in Vatican City, told him that he should continue to receive communion, amid heightened scrutiny of the Catholic president’s pro-abortion policies.  The president, following the approximately 90-minute-long meeting, a key…Continue Reading

Federal judge rules in favor of Gov. DeSantis’ mask mandate ban

MIAMI (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge this week handed Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis another legal victory on his mask mandate ban for schools. On Wednesday, Judge K. Michael Moore of the Southern District of Florida denied a petition from…Continue Reading

The Eucharist should not be received unworthily, says Nigerian cardinal

Priests have a duty to remind Catholics not to receive the Eucharist in a state of serious sin and to make confession easily available, a Nigerian cardinal said at the International Eucharistic Congress on Thursday. “It is still the doctrine…Continue Reading

Donald Trump takes a swipe at Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him

Donald Trump complained about Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him in 2020. The former president made the comments in a conference call featuring religious leaders. The move could be seen to shore up his religious conservative base…Continue Reading

Y Gov. Kathy Hochul Admits Andrew Cuomo Covered Up COVID Deaths, 12,000 More Died Than Reported

When it comes to protecting people from COVID, Andrew Cuomo is already the worst governor in America. New York has the second highest death rate per capita, in part because he signed an executive order putting COVID patients in nursing…Continue Reading

Prayers For Cardinal Burke . . . U.S. Cardinal Burke says he has tested positive for COVID-19

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said he has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. In an Aug. 10 tweet, he wrote: “Praised be Jesus Christ! I wish to inform you that I have recently…Continue Reading

Democrats Block Amendment Banning Late-Term Abortions, Stopping Abortions Up to Birth

Senate Democrats have blocked an amendment that would ban abortions on babies older than 20 weeks. During consideration of the multi-trillion spending package, pro-life Louisiana Senator John Kennedy filed an amendment to ban late-term abortions, but Democrats steadfastly support killing…Continue Reading

Transgender student wins as U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs bathroom appeal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to a transgender former public high school student who waged a six-year legal battle against a Virginia county school board that had barred him from using the bathroom corresponding…Continue Reading

New York priest accused by security guard of assault confirms charges have now been dropped

NEW YORK, June 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A New York priest has made his first public statement regarding the dismissal of charges against him.  Today Father George W. Rutler reached out to LifeSiteNews and other media today with the following…Continue Reading

21,000 sign petition protesting US Catholic bishops vote on Biden, abortion

More than 21,000 people have signed a letter calling for U.S. Catholic bishops to cancel a planned vote on whether President Biden should receive communion.  Biden, a Catholic, supports abortion rights and has long come under attack from some Catholics over that…Continue Reading

Bishop Gorman seeks candidates to fill two full time AP level teaching positions for the 2021-2022 school year in the subject areas of Calculus/Statistics and Physics

Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Regional Catholic School is a college preparatory school located in Tyler, Texas. It is an educational ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler led by Bishop Joseph Strickland. The sixth through twelfth grade school provides a…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1


Today . . .

Cardinal Zen found guilty in Hong Kong trial

CWN Editor’s Note: Cardinal Joseph Zen, the retired Bishop of Hong Kong, was found guilty on November 25 on charges of failing to register a charitable fund that provided legal help for defendants accused of violating China’s draconian new “security” law. The cardinal and five co-defendants will be required to pay a fine equivalent to $500. After his conviction, Cardinal Zen said that the case should not be seen as a violation of religious freedom.…Continue Reading

Kansas Judge Blocks State Law Banning Doctors From Providing Abortion Pills to Patients Online

A Kansas judge has blocked a state law that banned doctors from providing abortion pills through telemedicine. Shawnee County District Court Judge Teresa Watson granted an abortionists request for a temporary injunction

Archbishop Broglio elected USCCB president

BALTIMORE (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, was elected Tuesday to serve as the next president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The U.S. bishops elected Archbishop Broglio, the current secretary of the USCCB, to a three-year term as president by a vote of 138-99.

Michigan Legalizes Abortions Up to Birth After Leftist Billionaires Spend Millions Buying Votes

Michigan will become the next state to legalzie abortions up to birth after voters approved the dangerous and radical Proposition 3 to would elimiate every single pro-life law in the state, including parental consent. The 55-45 result in favor of the pro-abortion amendment was not surprising given the millions of dollars leftist billionaires pooured into the state to buy votes with false and misleading television commercials that lied about the effects of the measure. Rich,…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider Restate Concerns About Restrictions on Traditional Liturgy

VATICAN CITY — Cardinal Raymond Burke has questioned the basis of papal-led efforts to restrict and eventually eliminate the traditional Latin Mass, while Bishop Athanasius Schneider has said the “millennium-old treasure” cannot be destroyed, as it is the work of the Holy Spirit. The cardinal and bishop kindly shared their comments as part of a talk I gave the Latin Mass Society in London on Oct. 21. As concerns deepen over this pontificate’s

Conservatives Are Dying For A House Speaker Like Pelosi

By NEIL PATEL Nancy Pelosi will rightfully go down as one of the greatest speakers in the history of the U.S. House. I’m not sure I would agree with Pelosi on a single policy issue; that’s not the point. As far as leadership ability and political smarts, Pelosi ran circles around the bumbling Republicans of…Continue Reading

They Claim Abortion Is Safe… Then Hide How Abortions Kill and Injure Women

By KRISTAN HAWKINS WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeNews) — On the surface level, it seems our federal health officials err very much on the side of caution, even when the evidence is minimal. In February 2022, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an official warning to consumers about Abbott brands of baby formula following a possible…Continue Reading

Divine Mercy Shrine In Wisconsin Defaced With Graffiti

By JONAH McKEOWN ST. LOUIS, Mo. (CNA) — A Catholic parish in southern Wisconsin suffered a graffiti attack overnight on Sunday, November 20, that saw a large tiled display of the Divine Mercy image defaced with green spray-painted letters.Run by the Stockbridge, Mass.-based Marian Fathers, St. Peter Parish is located in Kenosha, on Lake Michigan…Continue Reading

A Book Review . . . Theism Reconsidered

By GARY BULLERT Paul Herrick’s latest book, Philosophy, Reasoned Belief, and Faith (University of Notre Dame Press, 2022, 459 pages, $45.00), constitutes the capstone of a forty-year career as an instructor, professional philosopher, and author. It augments more synoptically his earlier book, Think with Socrates: An Introduction to Critical Thinking. Like Socrates, philosophy is a…Continue Reading

The Blessing And Its Counterfeits

By DONALD DeMARCO The blessing, whether it is formal or informal, administered by clergy or laymen, performed in church or at home, is an everyday occurrence in Catholic life. It is a way in which God’s grace is invoked to benefit its intended recipient.We bless our house, our food, our religious articles, people who are…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. I am attending an RCIA class to see about becoming a Catholic. One question that has come up is why Protestant Bibles have only 66 books, while Catholic Bibles have 73. Can you explain this? — T.A., Massachusetts.A. The discrepancy is in the Old Testament, where Protestant Bibles are missing the seven books of Judith, Tobit, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus (Sirach),…Continue Reading

The Beauty Of Holiness

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK I was invited to a fundraising dinner recently at which a bishop spoke about the need to promote goodness, truth, and beauty in the Church. He has undertaken a multi-year project to beautify the celebration of Holy Mass as the key to Church renewal, liturgical and otherwise.Salvation of the world begins in and through the…Continue Reading

King of Thieves . . . A Homily For The Solemnity Of Christ The King

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Msgr. Charles Pope posted this article on November 19 and it is reprinted here with permission.) + + Jesus Christ is King of Thieves, though He never stole. He is savior of sinners, though He never sinned.Today’s Gospel presents Jesus as reigning from the cross. Nothing could be more paradoxical. Let’s look at it from four…Continue Reading

Conforming Ourselves To Christ

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Second Sunday Of Advent (YR A) Readings: Isaiah 11:1-10Romans 15:4-9Matt. 3:1-12 In the first reading today, we hear about a shoot that will sprout from the stump of Jesse. Jesse, recall, was the father of King David. The promise made to King David was that one of his sons would sit on his throne in perpetuity.…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: This series on the Bible is from the book Catholicism & Scripture. Please feel free to use the series for high schoolers or adults. We will continue to welcome your questions for the column as well. Contact us at the addresses provided below. Special Course On Catholicism And Scripture (Chapter 8) To get the people away from worshiping…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Padre Pio And The Poor Souls

By DEB PIROCH Part 2 “Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are in the most need of Thy mercy” — Fatima prayer. + + This week we continue to discuss the special closeness St. Pio had with the suffering souls in Purgatory. Yes, he…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Francis De Sales, Author And Apologist

By DEB PIROCH Anger is not a sin. It is how one employs anger that can lead to sin, but Christ Himself was justifiably angered when His house of prayer was transformed into a “den of thieves.” What did Christ mean?A church is for praying, for celebrating the Sacrifice of the Mass, for the distribution of the sacraments. It is…Continue Reading