St. Frederick, a member of an illustrious family among the Frisians, was educated by the clergy of the Church of Utrecht. Filled with piety and learned in spiritual things, he was ordained by Bishop Rickfield and given the task of instructing catechumens.in 820, Frederick succeeded the same prelate as Bishop of Utrecht.
The Saint was consecrated in the presence of the Emperor, Louis the Debonair, who advised him to stamp out the remaining vestiges of idolatry in Friesland. Frederick took the advise and sent zealous laborers into the north to extirpate the paganism still lurking there. He reserved for himself the most troublesome territory, Walcheren, an island belonging to The Netherlands that was rampant with incestuous marriages contracted within the forbidden degrees.
Sr. Frederick worked unceasingly to eradicate this evil from the people, by means of assiduous exhortations, tears, watching, prayer and fasting. He called an assembly of the principal people of the land and sent forth the ways and means by which such and abomination could be eliminated for good. In this way, he put an end to many such marriages and brought back to God numberless persons who were truly contrite.
At the same time, hearing of some of the numerous immoralities attributed to the Emperor’s second wife, the saintly Bishop went to the court to which he had free access and boldly admonished her. Though he did so with apostolic freedom and true charity, thinking only of her welfare, St. Frederick incurred the wrath and resentment of her husband.
Thus it was not very surprising on July 18, 838, as St. Frederick stepped down from the altar after saying Mass and was on his way to the side chapel to make his thanksgiving, that he was set upon by two assassins and stabbed to death. He died with the words of Psalm 116 on his lips: “I shall praise the Lord in the land of the living.” And the reputation of his sanctity spread quickly far and wide.
PRAYER: God, You gave splendor to Your Church by granting St. Frederick the victory of martyrdom. Grant that, as he imitated the Lord’s Passion, so we may follow in his footsteps and attain everlasting joys. Amen.