Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Memorial of St Bruno

"Bruno, the Founder of the Charterhouse Monks, was born at Cologne.  From his earliest years he was a very grave child, turning away from childish things, and that so manifestly, that by the grace of God the tokens of holiness already pointed him out as a Father of monks, and a restorer of the life of hermits.  His parents, who were eminent for rank and goodness, sent him to Paris, where he studied so well in Philosophy and Theology, that he took the degree of Doctor in both faculties; and a short while after, for his famous graces, he was made a Canon of Rheims.

After some years, he, and six comrades, forsook the world and betook themselves to Hugh, the holy Bishop of Grenoble, who, when he learned the reason of their coming, and believing them to have been figured by seven stars which he had seen that night in a dream falling at his feet, gave them a grant of land in some very wild mountains in his Diocese, which are called the Chartreuses.  Thither Bruno and his companions, together with Hugh, withdrew themselves, and led for some years the life of hermits.  Pope Urban II, who had formerly been his disciple, commanded him to come to Rome, and amid the afflictions which then scourged the Church, held him for some time as his counsellor.  But at last Bruno, who had refused the Archbishoprick of Reggio, got his leave to go away.

In his love of the wilderness, he betook himself to a certain desert place in the Diocese of Squillaci, in the uttermost coasts of Calabria.  He was praying there one day in a cave, when the hounds of Roger, Sovereign Earl of Sicily and Calabria, who was out a-hunting, came and bayed a the door of it.  Thus was he found by this Prince, who was moved by his holiness, and began to cherish him and his comrades, and treat them very kindly.  The Earl's goodness was rewarded, for when he was one time laying siege to Capua, and one Sergius, who was first groom of his bedchamber, had made a plot to betray him, Bruno, who was still living in the desert above mentioned, appeared to him in a dream, and delivered him from the danger which was hanging over him.  At length Bruno, full of graces and good works, and famous for godliness not less than for learning, fell asleep in the Lord, and was buried in the monastery of St. Stephen, founded by the same Earl Roger, where he is still held in great honour."

-- From the 1911 Breviary of St Pius X

** Painting by Juan Sánchez Cotán

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