Rev. Alban Butler (171173). Volume VI: June. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.
B. Henry of Treviso, Confessor
HE was a native of Bolsano, in the mountainous part of Tyrol, between Trent and Brescia, and of mean extraction. The poverty of his parents deprived him of the advantage of a school education, but from his infancy he studied earnestly to improve every day in the love of God, the true science of a Christian. In quest of work he left Bolsano in his youth, and settled at Treviso the capital city of a province in the Venetian territories. He gained his bread by day labour, to which he applied himself with unwearied cheerfulness, and which he sanctified by a spirit of penance and recollection. He could not read, but he never failed to assist at all sermons and instructions as much as it lay in his power to do; and by his earnestness and attention, he always reaped great advantage from whatever he heard relating to piety. He was diligent in attending at the whole divine office, and all public prayer whenever he could; he heard mass every day with an edifying devotion, and when at work joined in desire with those who had the happiness to be always employed in singing the divine praises at the foot of the altars. All the time that was not employed in labour and necessary duties he spent in his devotions either in the church or in private, having his beads always in his hands. Under his painful and assiduous labour he had led a most abstemious life, and secretly gave all that he was able to save of his wages to the poor. He studied always to conceal his devotions and other virtues from the eyes of men; but through the veil of his extreme humility they spread the brighter rays. Such was his meekness that under sickness or other afflictions, nothing that could savour of complaint or murmuring was ever heard from his mouth; he was an utter stranger to all resentment, and was sweet and affable to the whole world. When children or others reviled and insulted him, he made no other return than by good words, and by praying for them. He frequented the sacraments with extraordinary devotion, and went every day to confession; not out of scrupulosity, either magnifying small imperfections into great sins, or apprehending sin by a disordered imagination where a sound judgment discovers no shadow of evil, but out of a great desire of preserving the utmost purity of conscience, that his soul might be worthy to praise Him who is infinite purity and sanctity, and before whom the very angels are not without spot, that is, they appear all imperfection if compared to him. The saint was so solicitous to give all his actions to God with the most pure and perfect intention that he feared a fault of immortification, or idle curiosity in a glance of the eye to look at the flight of a bird if it any way distracted his mind, or hindered his recollection and attention to God at his work. When by old age he was no longer able to follow his day-labour, a certain pious lawyer gave him a lodging in his own house, and the servant of God lived by daily alms that were sent him, of which he never reserved anything to the next day: but what he retrenched from his own meal he gave away to those whom he thought in the greatest distress. He died on the 10th of June, 1315. An incredible concourse of people resorted to the little chamber in which his body lay exposed, and three notaries, appointed by the magistrates to take in writing an account of the miracles wrought by God at his relics, compiled a few days before his burial a relation of two hundred and seventy-six. Out of devotion to his memory every one sought to obtain some little part of his small furniture, which consisted only of a hairshirt, a log of wood which served him for a pillow, and twigs, cords, and straw, which made up his hard bed. The Italians call him St. Rigo, the diminutive of the name Arrigo or Henry. See his life written by Dominic, bishop of Treviso, an eyewitness of his virtues, in the Bolland. t. 20, ad Junij 10, p. 368, and Contin. of Fleurys Eccles. History.