Also known as
Apostle of Saxony; Liudger; Ludiger
Son of Thiadgrim and Liafburg, wealthy Frisian nobles. Brother of Saint Gerburgis and Saint Hildegrin. Saw Saint Boniface preach in 753, and was greatly moved. Studied at Utrecht under Saint Gregory of Utrecht. Studied three and a half years in England under Saint Alcuin; deacon.
Returned to the Nederlands in 773 as a missionary. Sent to Deventer in 775 to restore a chapel destroyed by pagan Saxons, and to recover the relics of Saint Lebwin, who had built the chapel. Taught school at Utrecht. Destroyed pagan idols and places of worship in the areas west of Lauwers Zee after they were Christianized. Ordained in 777 at Cologne. Missionary to Friesland, mainly around Ostergau and Dokkum, from 777 to 784, returning each fall to Utrecht to teach in the cathedral school. Left the area in 784 when pagan Saxons invaded and expelled all priests.
Pilgrim to Rome in 785. Met with Pope Adrian I, and the two exchanged counsel. Lived as a Benedictine monk at Monte Cassino from 785 to 787, but did not take vows. At the request of Charlemagne, he returned to Friesland as a missionary. It was a successful expedition, and he built a monastery in Weden to serve as a base. Reported to have cured the blindness of, and thus caused the conversion of the blind pagan bard Berulef.
Refused the bishopric of Trier in 793. Missionary to the Saxons. Built a monastery at Mimigernaford as the center of this missionary work, and served as its abbot. The word monasterium led to the current name of the city that grew up around the house - Münster. Built several small chapels throughout the region. First bishop of Munster in 804, being ordained at Westphalia.
His health failed in later years, but he never reduced his work load. No matter how busy or dangerous his outside life, Ludger never neglected his time of prayer and meditation. The man's life can be summed up in two facts: he was reprimanded and denounced only once during his bishopric - for spending more on charity than on church decoration; and on the day of his death, he celebrated Mass - twice.
c.743 at Zuilen, Friesland (modern Nederlands)
in the evening of 26 March 809 (Passion Sunday) of natural causes; buried at Werden, Germany; relics also at Münster and Billerbeck