Monday, August 11, 2014

St. Bruno

While at training for Totus Tuus back in May, my room was named after St. Bruno. 

St. Bruno was born in Cologne in 1030. He studied in Reims and eventually became the director of the education systems in the diocese. In 1075, he became chancellor of the diocese. He made personal vows to renounce secular concerns including politics. He was almost made bishop, but he refused because of his vows. He, along with a few others, settled in the lower Alps in 1084. They built an isolated retreat for prayer and study. This was the beginning of the Carthusian order, although Bruno wrote no formal rule. The men lived in isolated cells, copying manuscripts. They would only gather for Mass and vespers. In 1605, the Carthusian monks prepared an elixir of alpine herbs and called it chartreuse. The elixir’s unique color gave the color chartreuse its name. 

In 1090, one of Bruno’s former pupils, now Pope Urban II, called him to Rome. Bruno worked as the pope’s advisor in the Lateran for a short time before the papacy had to evacuate due to political turmoil, the thing Bruno had most sought to avoid. He opened a new retreat in rural Italy in 1091 and worked there until his death in 1101. After his death, Carthusians traveled western Europe announcing the death of Bruno; they wore scrolls around their necks, and people would sign them, expressing sentiments or prayers. St. Bruno is usually represented with death’s head in his hands or crowned with seven stars. His feast is October 6.

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