The Bishop of Digne


In Victor Hugo’s Les Miserable, Monseigneur Myriel is the Bishop of Digne.  The Bishop gave away all but the barest minimum of his possessions to care for the poor.  He even sold his carriage to have alms.  Therefore, when he visited the mountainous parts of his diocese he rode a donkey.  Hugo tells us, “One day, riding a donkey, he arrived at Senez…His purse being empty at the time he could not afford any better conveyance.  The mayor of the city, coming to receive him at the gate…was mortified to see him dismount his donkey.  Several citizens stood nearby, laughing.”  “Monsieur Mayor,” the bishop said, “and good citizens, I can see why you are shocked; you think it shows pride for a poor priest to use the same conveyance used by Jesus Christ.  I have done it from necessity, I assure you, and not from vanity.”

The prophet Zechariah wrote, “Behold, your king comes…humble and mounted on a donkey.” Zech. 9:9.


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