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Recluse and missionary in Bavaria, c. 750. Alto has been variously described as an Anglo-Saxon and an Irishman (Scotus), but the name Alt is undoubtedly Irish. We know little of his life except the broad facts that he lived for some time as a hermit, reclaiming the wild forest-land around him, and that he afterwards founded a Benedictine monastery in this spot, now called Altomünster, in the Diocese of Freising, having previously obtained a grant of land from King Pepin. St. Boniface is said to have come to dedicate the church about the year 750. A charter still exists bearing the subscription Alto reclausus [Hauck, Kirchengeschichte Deutschlands (1904), I, 541], which probably dates back to Alto's hermit days. We do not know the year of his death, but he is commemorated on 9 February. The monastery of Altomünster suffered much from the Huns and the depredations of the tyrannical nobles, but about the year 1000 it was restored again as a Benedictine monastery. Later it was tenanted by Benedictine nuns and these at the end of the fifteenth century gave place to a community of Brigittines, in whose hands it still remains despite many vicissitudes.
The only sketch of Alto's life preserved to us is a document of the eleventh century, printed in the Acta SS., II, Feb., and in Mon. Germ. Script., XV, 843; MACLEAR in Dict. Christ. Biog.; SACHS in Kirchenlex.; BINDER, Geschichte der bayerischen Brigitten-Kl ster (Ratisbon, 1896), 249-345.
|Source: The Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913|