Saint of the Day – 23 May – St Guibertus of Gorze (892-962) Monk , Hermit, Founder of the Abbey of Saint-Pierre, of Gemblou at Namur , Belgium. Born in the Lorraine region of France in 892 and died on 23 May 962 at Gorze Abbey in France of natural causes. Also known as – Guibertus of Gembloux, Guibert. Wibert.
An aristocrat from Lotharingia who had participated in several military campaigns, Guibertus withdrew as a Hermit on family property in Gembloux inherited from his father.
In 936, Guibertus was assisted in the erection of a Monastery and the selection of its Monks by Erluin (died 987), who had resigned a Canonry to become a Monk. Some of Guibertus’ relatives challenged the legality of the monastic foundation, on the grounds that the Monastery was built on land of the Imperial fisc, which had been given in fee to Guibertus’ ancestors and could not be alienated without imperial authority. Emperor Otto I summoned Guibert and Erluin to his Court but was so favourably impressed with the manner in which they defended their undertaking, that on 20 September 946, he issued an imperial decree approving the foundation of Gemblacum and granting it various privileges.
After his stay at Gorze Abbey in Lorraine, he came back with the Rule of Saint Benedict for his Monastery of Gembloux and appointed his friend Erluin the first Abbot of Gembloux, while he himself became a Monk at Gorze Abbey near Metz. The Moastery was dedicated to Saint Peter and the Martyr, Saint Exuperius. He returned twice to Gembloux. The first time was in 954, when the Hungarians threatened to pillage the Monastery. Guibertus not only saved it from harm but also converted some Hungarians to Christianity. The second time was in 957, when his brother-in-law, Heribrand of Mawolt, had seized the revenues of the Monastery. Guibertus persuaded Heribrand to leave the possessions of the Monastery unmolested in the future.
The Monks were active in missionary work among the Hungarians and Slavs who stayed behind in the Duchy of Brabant after the invasion of 954.
When Guibertus died, the Monks of Gembloux came to collect the body of their Founder from the Abbey of Gorze where he had died. After having buried his body, they exhumed it and treated the body with salt and aromatics to prevent decomposition during its transport to the Abbey of Gembloux.