They had practiced the run many times.
In France, wine is a very important part of life. The wine is kept in the deepest, strongest, and most secured part of the house. Wine is well protected and cared for. There, cellars are built to protect the wine.
This was World War Two. The cellar was stocked with survival supplies. The big house had several cellars. The wine cellar was the deepest and the most secure. The house was close to the cathedral, a location that potentially offered some protection. Surely, warplanes would avoid bombing the cathedral. When the sirens started wailing, the young couple was ready. They ran down to the cellar automatically in a matter of seconds, without even thinking.
This young couple was my parents. My mother was pregnant with me, her first baby. As a pregnant woman, she was entitled to more ration tickets then the regular civilians. Food was strictly controlled by the Nazi regime and difficult to obtain. Smokers exchanged their food tickets against cigarette tickets. If you knew a tobacco user you could trade your tobacco ration ticket for their food ration tickets. Amazingly, some would rather smoke than eat! However the problem was still to find the food. A ticket gave you the right to buy, but it did not mean that the foodstuff was automatically available. Before dawn, riding their bicycles in silence, my parents went to the fields on the outskirt of the city, to look for some forgotten vegetables. This activity had a name: “hamstrac” not translatable in English.
This time, the sirens went off in mid-morning. My parents ran to the cellar. A bomb, missing the cathedral, fell on the house. They were American bombs, big ones! The wine cellar barely held up. All survival supplies were gone. The dust was unbearable. It was almost impossible to breathe. By some miracle the wine bottles were intact. Overwhelmed by the heavy dust, they had no choice but to drink the wine to survive. By the light of a candle they drank, thanking God to be alive. It was there, in the wine cellar, where they found their salvation, drinking the wine and waiting to be dug out, it was there that they decided on my name. In the wine they found their salvation, and I receive my name. I was named after the saint patron of wine: Morand.
People were surprised to see a young couple emerge from the rubble, covered with thick dust, laughing and signing and completely drunk.
Three months later, my mother gave me life on the Swiss border, which offered better protection then the cathedral of Strasbourg.
Saint Morand is particularly revered in throughout the Alsace, Burgundy and Champagne regions of France, and also the Rhine region of Germany.
St. Morand spent most of his time in Germany, and even though he was a “spoilt little rich kid” (Morand came from a wealthy family), he choose priesthood as his profession and became a Benedictine monk.
Morand is one of the less well-known Saints, maybe for the fact that his biggest accomplishment was that he lived through Lent off a single bunch of grapes.
June 3rd is known as the feast day for St. Morand.