National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

April 16, St. Benedict Joseph Labre, Pilgrim

 |  NCR Today

Today is the feast of St. Benedict Joseph Labre. He was born at Amettes, near Boulogne, in 1748. After several attempts to join the Trappists, the Cistercians, and the Carthusians, he realized he was unsuited for religious life. He decided to be a pilgrim.


He walked to shrines all over Europe, including Assisi, and Loreto in Italy, Compostela in Spain, Paray-le-Monial in France, and Einsiedeln in Switzerland. He owned only the rags he wore and the few books he carried in a bag. He slept in the open, and relied on alms freely given. He did not beg, and anything given to him beyond his immediate need, he shared with other poor people.

When Benedict Joseph was no longer able to travel, he lived in Rome, sleeping in the Colosseum at night and attending services at Santa Maria dei Monti and other churches by day. He was particularly attracted to churches where the Forty Hours devotion was being observed. He was sometimes asked to leave churches because of his smell and appearance.

Benedict Joseph Labre died on April 16, 1783. His relics are enshrined at Santa Maria dei Monti.

After numerous miracles, he was proclaimed Venerable by Pope Pius IX in 1859 and canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1881. Today he is regarded as a patron of the homeless and the mentally ill.

Click here to see a portrait of St. Benedict Joseph Labre by Antonio Cavallucci and a modern icon by Rev. William Hart McNichols, S.J.

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

 

Feature-flag_GSR_start-reading.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

July 18-31, 2014

07-18-2014_0.jpg

Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.