Saint Guntramnus, also known as Contran or sometimes Gontran, was the son of King Clotaire and the grandson of Clovis I. In 561 he was became king of Orleans and Burgundy. He married a woman named Mercatrude, but later divorced her. However, when she became ill, he sent a physician to her. She was dying and the doctor could do nothing for her, so the queen insisted that the physician die and Guntramnus had him murdered.
He later converted to Christianity and was overcome with remorse for the things he had done in the past. He wanted to spend the remainder of his life serving God and his fellow man. Therefore, he governed his kingdom with love. He was most reverent towards the clergy and treated the priests not as servants, but as the spiritual fathers they are. He helped the poor and gave generously of his wealth to the oppressed and poverty-stricken.
Guntramnus recognized the Lord had been merciful him, so he in turn was merciful to others. Even those who tried to assassinate him were only imprisoned and not killed as others might have done. One man, who attempted to stab the king, took refuge in a church and Guntramnus let him go free. He was fair to everyone and treated his subjects as his own family. He spent much time in prayer and fasting, and built several churches and monasteries. St. Gregory of Tours writes that he was an eyewitness to miracles performed by St. Guntramnus. On March 28, in the year 592, King Guntramnus died at the age of sixty-eight. He was buried in church of St. Marcellus, which Guntramnus founded.
In the sixteenth century, Huguenots scattered his ashes, but his skull remained untouched and is kept in a silver box in St. Marcellus Church. Guntramnus is the patron saint of divorced people, guardians, and repentant murderers. He is usually depicted in art as a king with three treasure chests, one of which has a globe and a cross on it.
Father in heaven, you are so merciful. We are given great hope in the life of King Guntramnus. We shall not despair, Father, knowing that when we turn to You in true repentance, You will not only forgive us, but also give us the opportunity to extend that same mercy and kindness to others. Thank You, Father, for Your great love and forgiveness. Amen.
Other Saints We Remember Today
St. John of Capistrano (1456), Priest, Patron of Jurists