Thursday, April 16, 2015

Saint Benedict Joseph Labre

This is an update of a post on St. Benedict Joseph that I did last year. What a wonderful saint!

When I was a newly ordained priest at Salesian High in New Rochelle, NY I was able to go for spritual direction to Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR. Fr. Benedict gave me the biography of St. Benedict Joseph Labre to read. I had never heard of this saint before, but was greatly impressed by the story of his life! Today is his Feast Day! His is a beautiful and sad story.

Benedict Joseph was the oldest of 15 children of a middle class family. He was educated by his uncle, a parish priest. Following his uncle's death, he tried to join the Trappists, Carthusians, and Cistercians, but was rejected by them all. He then spent years wandering Europe, especially Rome, in complete poverty, spending his days in perpetual adoration in the cathedrals and churches he came upon. Benedict would go into religious ecstasy when contemplating the passion of Christ. He was reputed to float, soar, and bilocate when in ecstasy. He begged in the streets, and if he was given more than he needed for the day, he would give the remainder to some one he considered more in need. He cured some of his fellow homeless, and multiplied bread for them. Benedict Joseph was counselor to people of all walks of life in Rome.

On the last day of his life, April 16, 1783, Benedict Joseph dragged himself to a church in Rome and prayed there for two hours before he collapsed, dying peacefully in a nearby house. His biography, written by his confessor Marconi, describes 136 miraculous cures attributed to him within three months of his death. Immediately after his death the people proclaimed him a saint. He was officially proclaimed a saint by Pope Leo XIII at canonization ceremonies in 1883.

1 comment:

Martin said...

I'm looking for a copy but the one on Amazon is photocopied. Do you know a source? Thank you