October 2, 2017

Saint Gerard of Brogne, Benedictine Abbot

Saint Gerard of Brogne

Feast Day - October 3rd

Historically it is the feast of Saint Gerard of Brogne who was born in the county of Namur. He trained for the army, as a page of the count of Namur he was sent on a special mission to the French court. He stayed in France and soon entered the Benedictines of St. Denis. After some eleven years he was ordained priest, and left for Belgium in order to found a new abbey on his own estate of Brogne. He was its abbot for twenty-two years, introducing St. Benedict's Rule into numerous houses in Flanders, Lorraine and Champagne. He was noted for his devoutness.

St. Gerard entered this world blessed with the advantages of noble birth and a naturally pleasing disposition which made him universally liked, yet he saw through the emptiness of a worldly life. Upon returning from a hunting trip one day, he retreated to a chapel, where he sighed, "How happy are they who have no other obligation but to praise the Lord night and day, and who live always in His presence." St. Gerard had a vision in which St. Peter asked him to bring the relics of St. Eugenius to Brogne, Belgium. Upon completing this task, St. Gerard entered into religious life at the monastery of Saint-Denis, where he was later elevated to the priesthood. After founding an abbey of monks on his own estate at Brogne, he set up a cell for himself near the church to live in holy reclusion.

He was not allowed to remain a recluse for long however. God called him to reform the abbey of St. Ghislain, where the monks would expose the relics of their founder in exchange for money. Due to his success there St. Gerard was later given the commission to reform all the abbeys in Flanders. For nearly twenty years, he labored for their reformation by the Rule of St. Benedict. Toward the end of his life, St. Gerard made a final visit to each of the monasteries under his direction, before retiring to his humble cell at Brogne to prepare for his death.

Ever-living God, who manifests your almighty power above all by pardoning and showing mercy, bestow, we pray, your grace abundantly upon us and make those hastening to attain your promises by the intercession of St. Gerard, heirs to the treasures of heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you, and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever. Amen. [Adapted source]

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