St. Hugh was born in France in 1140. His mother died when he was 8 years old and because
his father was a soldier, he went to a boarding school for his education. He loved games
as a young boy, but felt that God was asking something special of him. At the early age of
15 Hugh entered a Religious Order and soon became a very famous preacher.
His popularity soon reached the King of England, Henry II. The King asked Hugh to come to England to care for a group of monks who had no possessions of any kind. Hugh was saddened by the request - he loved his own monastery. He also loved all the animals in the monastery gardens, especially a wild swan that would eat from his hand and follow him about and yet the swan would attack anyone else who came near Hugh. This is why in the picture of St. Hugh there is a swan.
Hugh left for England and went to a place to live called Lincoln. He was never to see his homeland again. Soon he was asked to be Bishop of Lincoln and for the sake of the people, Hugh accepted the position.
At this time he also became very concerned about the lepers. There was a law in England at the time which forced the lepers to live in the forests. Hugh went among these poor people and gave them hope and comfort. He also told the people of his diocese that caring for the lepers was part of their Christian duty. And so, thanks to the Bishop of Lincoln the lepers were no longer treated as outcasts.
Hugh wore himself out for his people and soon became sick and suffered a painful illness for two months. He died on the evening of November 16, 1200. He was canonized a saint twenty years later.