SAINT BRUNO, PRIEST
FEAST DAY – 6th OCTOBER
Saint Bruno, 1030 – 1101 is the Patron Saint of Calabria, Italy, and of Germany. A writer as well as founder of his order, Saint Bruno composed commentaries on the Psalms and on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle. He left his native Cologne to study in Rheims, France, as a young man and was ordained a priest around 1055. Aware of Bruno’s obvious talents, the Bishop of Rheims demanded that the young priest remain in his diocese, where Bruno became the head of Rheims’ most illustrious school for almost two decades and then Chancellor of the diocese.
But a bad bishop altered the arc of Bruno’s trajectory. Bruno’s bishop-patron died and was succeeded by a corrupt aristocrat who had bought his office. Revolt, sharp tensions, recriminations, and violence ensued. Everyone was damaged. Bruno withdrew from the scene, partly to avoid being named a bishop himself and partly to reevaluate what prize he was truly seeking in life.
Bruno and some companions then sought out a well-known hermit in Southern France who, a few years later, would go on to found the Monastery of Citeaux, the mother foundation of the Cistercian Order. Citeaux was the very same monastery which had such an influence on Bruno’s contemporary Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. But Bruno was not meant to be a Cistercian. Still searching, Bruno and six companions approached the Bishop of Grenoble, France, who was favorable to their plan and granted them a remote location in the French Alps called Chartreuse. It was 1085. Saint Bruno’s successors reside at the Grande Chartreuse to this day, living the part hermit, part community of prayer, part work, part study, all poor, and all silent existence of Carthusian monks that Bruno envisioned.
Though Bruno founded the Grande Chartreuse, he did not remain there for long. A former pupil of Bruno’s had become Pope, so Bruno moved to Rome and lived in a cell amidst the crumbled arches and half walls of the Baths of Diocletian. Resigned to his exile, he refusing an appointment as bishop in Southern Italy, in about 1094 Bruno and some followers spawned a mini-Chartreuse in Calabria, Italy, called La Torre, although this second foundation was later to be absorbed into the Cistercian Order. Bruno died there, living in silence as a monk. He was never formally canonized and left no rule for his Order, leaving that task to a successor. Saint Bruno had a burning love for the Holy Eucharist and for the Virgin Mary. Silence was also his muse.
May we be helped by the intercession of St. Bruno, Thy Confessor, O Lord, we beseech Thee, so that we who by our evil deeds have grievously offended Thy Majesty, may by his merits and prayers obtain forgiveness of our sins.
Lord God, you called Saint Bruno to serve you in a life of solitude. Amidst this world’s changes help us, by his prayers, to set our hearts always on you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
PRAYER TO SAINT BRUNO
Saint Bruno, your life of generous and active service to the Church was curtailed, and you chose the better portion, seeking God in silence, poverty, study, and prayer.
Help all who are in the world to emulate your quiet dedication, focus, and endurance. AMEN