In the Middle Ages, a widely circulated devout tale recounts the story of Saint Julian, a man of noble descent who encountered a prophetic hart while hunting. The hart, a target of his hunt, foretold a grim future for Julian, stating that he would ultimately cause the death of his own parents.

Julian’s valor and service to a king earned him great favor, leading to his marriage with a widow. During a period when Julian was away, his parents visited his castle in search of him. Recognizing them, his wife graciously offered them Julian’s bedroom for their stay. However, upon Julian’s unexpected return that night and discovering two figures in his bed, he leaped to a tragic conclusion. Believing he had been betrayed, he killed them both, only to later learn from his wife, who had been at church, the true identity of the victims. The realization that he had fulfilled the hart’s prophecy and slain his own parents plunged Julian into a deep well of remorse.

Seeking redemption, Julian abandoned his castle, determined to atone for his sins. His wife, supporting him in his quest for forgiveness, joined him in this new chapter of their lives. Together, they established an inn beside a vast river and a hospital to serve the poor and travelers, dedicating their lives to the service of others.

Julian’s path to redemption reached its culmination when he offered shelter to a leper, sharing his own bed with the sick man. This act of mercy proved to be a divine test, as the leper revealed himself to be an angel sent by God. Through this act of kindness and selflessness, Julian was forgiven for his grievous act.

Saint Julian’s story, marked by tragedy, penance, and ultimately forgiveness, made him the patron saint of hotel keepers, travelers, and boatmen. His feast day is celebrated on February 12th, commemorating his legacy of hospitality and redemption.

Editorial credit: Zvonimir Atletic / Shutterstock.com

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