The Catholic Defender: Saint Wolfgang of Regensburg
Wolfgang is venerated as a patron saint of carpenters and wood carvers, and the city of Regensburg. He can be invoked against internal bleeding, paralysis, stomach diseases and strokes. In art he is usually depicted holding a cathedral, dressed as a bishop, or forcing Satan to help him construct a church.
Miracles associated with his tomb, including many healings, led to his canonization of 1052. Several of St. Wolfgang's devotees experienced relief from stomach ailments, and he remains a patron saint of such troubles today. His intercession is also sought by victims of strokes and paralysis, and by carpenters.
Wolfgang was born in Swabia, Germany, and was educated at a school located at the abbey of Reichenau. There he encountered Henry, a young noble who went on to become Archbishop of Trier. Meanwhile, Wolfgang remained in close contact with the archbishop, teaching in his cathedral school and supporting his efforts to reform the clergy.
At the death of the archbishop, Wolfgang chose to become a Benedictine monk and moved to an abbey in Einsiedeln, now part of Switzerland. Ordained a priest, he was appointed director of the monastery school there. Later he was sent to Hungary as a missionary, though his zeal and good will yielded limited results.
Emperor Otto II appointed him Bishop of Regensburg, near Munich. Wolfgang immediately initiated reform of the clergy and of religious life, preaching with vigor and effectiveness and always demonstrating special concern for the poor. He wore the habit of a monk and lived an austere life.
The draw to monastic life never left him, including the desire for a life of solitude. At one point he left his diocese so that he could devote himself to prayer, but his responsibilities as bishop called him back. In 994, Wolfgang became ill while on a journey; he died in Puppingen near Linz, Austria. He was canonized in 1052. His feast day is celebrated widely in much of central Europe.
Wolfgang could be depicted as a man with rolled-up sleeves. He even tried retiring to solitary prayer, but taking his responsibilities seriously led him back into the service of his diocese. Doing what had to be done was his path to holiness—and ours.