The monasteries, abbeys and churches created a thriving economy and as local populations and numbers of visiting Pilgrims increased (the population of France jumped from 3 million in 650AD to 19 million in 1340AD), they became money making machines. Financial affiliation with the church was not just an expectation of being a good Christian, but also a means to claim status and increase power in the community. They attracted the patronage of a growing number of nobles, who could claim nobility simply due to accumulated wealth and followers. Noble families often nominated ‘spare’ offspring to take holy order to keep it in the family. Patronage in the form of funding the creation of a monastery or Abbey tied the power of the Church to the power of the local ruling noble. Under the Merogivinians, if the noble could prove a link to the ruling elite this could mean an automatic sainthood as could becoming an abbot.