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Alto, Saint

Recluse and missionary in Bavaria, (c. 750)

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Alto, Saint, recluse and missionary in Bavaria, c. 750. Alto has been variously described as an Anglo-Saxon and an Irishman (Scotus), but the name Alt is undoubtedly Irish. We know little of his life except the broad facts that he lived for some time as a hermit, reclaiming the wild forest land around him, and that he afterwards founded a Benedictine monastery in this spot, now called Altomunster, in the Diocese of Freising, having previously obtained a grant of land from King Pepin. St. Boniface is said to have come to dedicate the church about the year 750. A charter still exists bearing the subscription Alto reclausus [Hauck, Kirchengeschichte Deutschlands (1904), I, 541], which probably dates back to Alto’s hermit days. We do not know the year of his death, but he is commemorated on February 9. The monastery of Altomunster suffered much from the Huns and the depredations of the tyrannical nobles, but about the year 1000 it was restored again as a Benedictine monastery. Later it was tenanted by Benedictine nuns and these at the end of the fifteenth century, gave place to a community of Brigittines, in whose hands it still remains despite many vicissitudes.

HERBERT THURSTON


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