Tag Archives: St Benedict-Joseph Labre

St Benedict Joseph Labre

Today’s saint, Saint Benedict-Joseph Labre, was a homeless street person. His home, it is reported, used to be in a hole in the Colosseum. Probably a rarity, other street persons gave testimony for Labre’s canonization process.

For many, the Labre is a great witness to the Gospel and therefore frequently visit the Church near the Colosseum and the Angelicum, Santa Maria ai Monti, where he is entombed.

Saint Benedict-Joseph thought his vocation was to the contemplative life and therefore tried to join the Trappists, the Common Observance Cistercians, and the Carthusians; but was denied profession of vows. In many ways his cloister was the world. Wandering Europe, especially Rome, in complete poverty, spending his days in perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. He begged in the streets, and if he was given more than he needed for the day, he would give the remainder to a person he considered more in need. Benedict-Joseph healed some of his fellow homeless, and was reported to have multiplied bread for them; he was also the spiritual director for many. Given to religious ecstacies when contemplating the crown of thorns; reputed to float, soar, and bilocate when in these swoons. He died in a hospice, exhausted from his life of austerity.

Father Marconi, Labre’s confessor and biographer, describes 136 miraculous cures attributed to him within three months of his death.

May Saint Benedict-Joseph Labre show us the face of Christ today.

Saint Benedict Joseph Labre

Antonio Cavallucci St Benedict Joseph Labre.jpg

Today’s feast of Saint Benedict Joseph Labre is a beautiful reminder of the humility with which we face God, our own humanity, and the world.
The Missal speaks of Benedict Joseph as a “Fool for Christ”: he met Christ with his whole self, the physical and psychological weaknesses and the desire to be in communion with his Savior. Benedict Joseph has much to teach.
The story of Saint Benedict Joseph is nicely painted by a friend, Father Mark here.

Let’s pray for all those who face life with difficulties, especially the mentally unstable and the homeless. That for the Grace of God, there we go through life.
On his birthday, let’s remember Pope Benedict.

Saint Benedict-Joseph Labre

Benedict-Joseph Labre ACavallucci.jpgBlessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven; Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. (MT 5:3,8)

Saint Benedict-Joseph Labre is one of the most endearing saints of the Church; some call him a misfit among the saints for his sensitivities, honesty and gentleness. There is so much about him that draws the heart: he was persistent in his pursuit of a religious vocation but never found a home among the Cistercian or the Carthusian monks, he was a perpetual pilgrim, a made of exactness in religious devotion, and a man known as the “saint of the Forty Hours” (the forty hours is a devotion of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament). The Scriptures were his constant companion and guide for life. He’s a great example of following the Pauline spirituality. Ultimately, his vocation was lived as a Third Order Franciscan.

Benedict-Joseph was born on March 26, 1748 in Amettes, France, the eldest child of 15. At 35, he died of malnutrition on this date in 1783 during Holy Week on the steps of the Church of Santa Maria dei Monti with the consolation of the sacraments. How interesting that his liturgical memorial falls on the very edge of the Lord’s triumphant journey into Jerusalem. Labre was canonized by Pope Leo in 1881.
Saint Benedict-Joseph is the patron of the homeless, those making pilgrimages, for those who make adoration of the Eucharistic Lord in the Blessed Sacrament a regular spiritual gesture, and for those who suffer from mental illness, depression, anxiety.

Read a brief biography of Saint Benedict-Joseph here.
The Guild of Saint Benedict-Joseph Labre has an old website and they’re promising a new one this spring.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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