Icon of St. Baaf of Flanders - 20th c.- (1BA38)

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Commemorated October 1

Baaf was born near Liège, to a Frankish noble family that gave him the name Allowin. His father was Pippin of Landen, the Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia, and his mother Itta of Metz.

A wild, young aristocrat of Brabant, he contracted a beneficial marriage, and had a daughter. He was a soldier who led an undisciplined and disorderly life. Shortly after the death of his wife, Bavo decided to reform after hearing a sermon preached by Saint Amand on the emptiness of material things. On returning to his house he distributed his wealth to the poor, and then received the tonsure from Amand.

For some time thereafter, Bavo joined Amand in the latter's missionary travels throughout France and Flanders. On one occasion, Bavo met a man whom he had sold into slavery years before. Wishing to atone for his earlier deed, Bavo had the man lead him by a chain to the town jail. Bavo built an abbey on his grounds and became a monk. He distributed his belongings to the poor and lived as a recluse, first in a hollow tree and later in a cell in the forest by the Abbey.

He died at the Abbey in Ghent, in what is today Belgium.