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Saint Walter of Pontoise (ca. 1030ca. 1099) was a French saint of the eleventh century. Born at Andainville, he was a professor of philosophy and rhetoric before becoming a Benedictine monk at Rebais (diocese of Meaux). A story told of him is that while a novice, Walter took pity on an inmate at the monastery prison, and helped the prisoner to escape.
Philip I appointed him abbot of a new foundation at Pontoise, despite Walters protestations. The foundation of Pontoise was initially dedicated to Saint Germanus of Paris but then was dedicated to Saint Martin. The discipline at this new foundation was lax, and Walter fled the house several times to avoid this responsibility.
Walter left his position at Pontoise to become a monk at Cluny under Hugh but he was forced to return to Pontoise. A story told of him was that he once took the road to Touraine and hid himself on an island in the Loire, before being led back to the abbey. He also escaped to an oratory near Tours dedicated to Cosmas and Damian before being recognized by a pilgrim there.
After being forced to return again, this time Walter decided to go to Rome to appeal directly to the Pope. Walter gave Pope Gregory VII his written resignation, but Gregory ordered him to assume his responsibilities as abbot and never leave again.
Thereafter, he campaigned against the abuses and corruptions of his fellow Benedictines, and was beaten and imprisoned. He resumed his work after being released. He founded, in 1094, at Berteaucourt-les-Dames near Amiens, a monastery for women, with the assistance of Godelinda and Elvige (also spelled Godelende and Hleguide).
He is patron Saint of prisoners; prisoners of war; vintners; invoked against job-related stress
His Feast day is April 8
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