Born around 705 A.D., St. Hubert was quite the playboy. As nobility, he had the freedom and wealth do as he pleased, and what pleased him more than anything was hunting. But after his wife died in childbirth, hunting went from a hobby to an obsession, and Hubert devoted nearly all his time to the spot. What he didn’t know, however, was that all the while, God was hunting him.
On Good Friday morning one year, faithful flocked to the churches for mass. But Hubert was not among them. He had no time for pious devotions, and he was in the woods pursuing a magnificent stag. Hubert was closing in for the kill when, without warning, the stag he was pursuing turned and looked directly at him. Suspended between its majestic antlers was a glowing crucifix. Hubert was dumbfounded. A voice from heaven boomed, “Hubert, unless thou turnest to the Lord, and leadest an holy life, thou shalt quickly go down into hell.” Deeply moved, Hubert asked what he must do. He was instructed to go seek Lambert, the holy bishop of his diocese, to learn what God required of him.
The vision was the beginning of a profound conversion for Hubert, a conversion that led him to renounce his wealth and titles, study for the priesthood, and ultimately to be consecrated a bishop. As a bishop, Hubert was known for his great holiness, and especially for his daring evangelization of the rather dangerous pagans … his zealous missionary efforts earned him the reputation of being a skillful “hunter of souls.”
St. Hubert is also known as one of the first to promote ethical hunting practices, encouraging hunters to avoid cruelty and treat animals with respect and dignity as God’s creatures.