Saint of the Day – 18 July – St Bruno of Segni, O.S.B. – Benedictine Bishop, Confessor, Missionary, Papal Advisor, Theologian, (1049 at Solero, Piedmont, Italy – 1123 of natural causes). He was Canonised on 5 September 1183 by Pope Lucius III. Patron of Segni, Italy.
St Bruno was of the illustrious family of the lords of Asti in Piemont and born near that city. From his cradle he considered that man’s happiness is only to be found in loving God: and to please Him in all his actions was his only and his most ardent desire. He made his studies in the monastery of St Perpetuus, in the diocess of Asti.
In the Roman council in 1079, he defended the doctrine of the Catholic Church concerning the blessed eucharist against Berengarius; and Pope Gregory VII nominated him bishop of Segni in the ecclesiastical state in 1081. Bruno, who had been compelled to submit to the appointment, after a long and strenuous resistance, served his flock and on many important occasions the universal church with unwearied zeal. Gregory VII who died in 1085, Victor III formerly abbot of mount Cassino, who died in 1087 and Urban II who had been scholar to St. Bruno (afterwards institutor of the Carthusians) at Rheims, then a monk at Cluni and afterwards bishop of Ostia, had the greatest esteem for our saint.
He attended Urban II into France in 1095 and assisted at the council of Tours in 1096. After his return into Italy he continued to labour for the sanctification of his soul and that of his flock, till not being able any longer to resist his inclination for solitude and retirement, he withdrew to mount Cassino and put on the monastic habit. The people of Segni demanded him back; but Oderisus, abbot of mount Cassino and several cardinals, whose mediation the saint employed, prevailed upon the pope to allow his retreat. The abbot Oderisus was succeeded by Otho in 1105 and this latter dying in 1107, the monks chose bishop Bruno abbot. He was often employed by the pope in important commissions and by his writings laboured to support ecclesiastical discipline and to extirpate simony. This vice he looked upon as the source of all the disorders which excited the tears of all zealous pastors in the church, by filling the sanctuary with hirelings, whose worldly spirit raises an insuperable opposition to that of the gospel.
Paschal II formerly a monk of Cluni, succeeded Urban II in the pontificate in 1099. By his order St. Bruno having been abbot of mount Cassino about four years, returned to his bishopric and left his abbatial crozier on the altar. He continued faithfully to discharge the episcopal functions to his death, which happened at Segni on the 31st of August in 1125. He was canonized by Lucius III in 1183.
The works of St. Bruno of Segni, or of Asti, with a preliminary dissertation of Dom Maur Marchesi, were printed at Venice in 1651, in two vols. folio and in the Bibl. Patr. at Lyons in 1677, t. 20. They consist of comments on several parts of scripture, one hundred and forty-five sermons, several dogmatical treatises and letters; and a life of St Leo IX and another of St Peter, bishop of Anagnia, whom Paschal II canonised. Most importantly Bruno’s theologial work on the Holy Eucharist set the standard for centuries and he is considered one of the greatest biblical commentators of his era.
Fr Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume VII: The Lives of the Saints. 1866
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