Saint of the Day – 3 October – St Gerard of Brogne (c 895 – 959) Priest, Abbot of Brogne, Reformer – born in c 895 at Staves, Namur, Belgium and died on 3 October 959 at Brogne, Belgium of natural causes.
Saint Gerard was of a noble family of the county of Namur, France. An engaging sweetness of temper and a strong inclination to piety and devotion, gained him from the cradle the esteem and affection of every one. Having been sent on an important mission to the Court of France, he was greatly edified at the fervour of the monks of St Denis, at Paris and earnestly desired to consecrate himself to God with them. Returning home he settled his temporal affairs and went back with great joy to St Denis’.
He had lived ten years with great fervour in this monastery, when in 931 he was sent by his abbot to found an abbey upon his estate at Brogne, three leagues from Namur. He settled this new abbey and then built himself a little cell near the church and lived in it a recluse until God called him to undertake the reformation of many monasteries, which he did very successfully.
He eventually became head of 18 other abbeys in the region of present-day Belgium. When he reformed the Abbey of Saint Bertin in 944, dissident monks fled to King Edmund I of England. At the end of his life, he retired again to Brogne.
He also traveled to Rome to obtain a papal bull to confirm the privileges of Brogne Abbey.
When he had spent almost twenty years in these zealous labours, he shut himself up in his cell, to prepare his soul to receive the recompense of his labours, to which he was called on 3 of October in 959.
The saint’s feast day is celebrated in the dioceses of Namur, Ghent and Liege today, for which he is listed in the Roman Martyrology.
Relics, considered authentic, are preserved at Saint-Gérard, the abbey of Maredsous, Aubange, and Ghent (in the church of Notre-Dame).