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Saint Bruno

1030 - 1101

Feast Day: October 6

In St. Bruno, we find a saint’s example, which is greatly needed in today’s world. He stands as a light of Christ radiating in darkness.

St. Bruno lived during the 11th Century. He was an abbot, which is a title given to a superior of a monastic community of twelve or more monks.1 He was also the founder of a monastic community, a contemplative order, called the Carthusians, which is located in the Alpine area of Grande Chartreuse. He is the patron saint of possession.2 Patron, meaning he has a special God-given grace to deal with possession (possession, denoting the understanding that the devil takes control of the person from within his body — as opposed to obsession, which is where the devil attempts to control the person from outside the body. Either form deals with coming “under the influence of the devil”. 3) Why he is the patron saint of possession is not readily known.4

In our moment in time, in today’s world, it is very important to keep in mind that the devil truly does exist; but, more importantly, that God exists and that He has given us extraordinary graces, which come through the Catholic Church and saints, like St. Bruno, to deal with the devil and his wicked ways. Although the devil is powerful, God is omnipotent.5

Now, the story of St. Bruno is very intriguing. He was born in Cologne, Germany in 1030 to a wealthy family; he studied theology in both Cologne, Germany and Reims, France. He became a canon priest and later a professor of theology.6 Unfortunately, when the bishop passed away the diocese fell into unrest, and St. Bruno moved out to the country. He lived a life of austerity and penance. At first, he was joined by six friends, but his community grew quickly and they became well known throughout the area. He applied to the Bishop of Grenoble, and was granted permission to set up a formal monastery.

From the cradle St. Bruno found God’s favor and was greatly blessed with special graces. His trip to the bishop was to be no different. “On learning the cause of their coming [St. Bruno and his friends], the bishop understood that they had been signified by the seven stars he had seen falling at his feet in his dream of the previous night. He therefore made over [appointed] to them some wild mountains called the Chartreuse, belonging to his diocese…”7

St. Bruno lived in the peacefulness of his sanctuary until Pope Urban II, who had been his disciple,8 called him to Rome. God used St. Bruno’s wisdom and prudence to assist Pope Urban II for many years. Eventually, St. Bruno began to yearn for his sanctuary again. Turning down an archbishopric, he instead chose the life of solitude in a desert cave. While in the desert, stories of St. Bruno appearing to people began to emerge. The following is one such story:

    “… Count Roger was besieging Capua, and Sergius, an officer of his guard, had determined to betray him. Bruno, who was still living in his desert, appeared to the Count in his sleep, revealed the whole treason to him, and thus saved him from imminent peril.”9

The life story of St. Bruno is short, but he is well known for his life of sanctity lived in solitude as well as his beautiful style of writing. His most famous works are letters and his commentaries on St. Paul and the Psalms, “which are clear and concise, revealing at once his science and his love of Jesus and of the Church.”10

He was also renowned and praised for “his three chief virtues — his great spirit of prayer, an extreme mortification, and a filial devotion to the Blessed Virgin. Both the churches built by him in the desert were dedicated to the Blessed Virgin: Our Lady of Casalibus in Dauphiné, and Our Lady Della Torre in Calabria; and, faithful to his inspirations, the Carthusian Statutes proclaim the Mother of God the first and chief patron of all the houses of the Order, whoever may be their particular patron.”11

Our Lord took St. Bruno in the year 1101. He lived his last days in peace, humility, and mortification.12 He was buried in the Church of St. Steven, built by the Count whose life he had saved.

Pondering St. Bruno: “For he well knows that, though a nation may appear to be on the verge of its doom, there is yet hope for it as long as the best of its sons are prostrate before the Majesty of God”.13

Notes:

  1. http://www.newadvent.org/cathem/01015c.htmRetrieved October 2, 2008 from


  2. Lives of the Saints: For Every Day In the Year, p. 330.


  3. Catholic Encyclopedia, “Demonic Possession”, retrieved from www.newadvent.org/cathen/12315a.htm on October 2, 2008.


  4. Ibid., p. 350.


  5. Ibid.


  6. Ibid.


  7. The Liturgical Year, Volume 14, p. 351.


  8. 2000 Saints Calendar and Daily Planner (London: Catholic Truth Publications, 1999), p. 114.


  9. The Catholic Church has designated special priests to deal with possession and obsession; they go under the title of exorcist. Priests who are exorcists receive extensive spiritual training from the Vatican. 


  10. However, there are known miracles attributed to St. Bruno — at the site of his burial — which relate to possession.


  11. Catholic Encyclopedia, “Demonic Possession”, retrieved from www.newadvent.org/cathen/12315a.htm on October 2, 2008.


  12. 2000 Saints Calendar and Daily Planner (London: Catholic Truth Publications, 1999), p. 114.


  13. Ibid., p. 349.


If you wish to learn more about the life of St. Bruno, the following works would be beneficial. Clicking the link will lead you to more information on the books:

The Liturgical Year

Lives of the Saints: For Every Day In the Year


Read more about this Saint



The Saints of the Week Archives