Saint of the Day – 1 June – Blessed Teobaldo Roggeri (c 1100-1150) Layman, Shoemaker, Porter, Apostle of the poor and needy, Penitent, Pilgrim Born in c 1100 in Vico, Liguria, Piedmont, Italy and died in 1150 of natural causes. Patronages – the Diocese of Alba, against fever, against sterility, Church cleaners, Cobblers, Porters, Shoemakers, Tradespeople. Also known as Theobald of Vico, Theobald of Alba, Teobaldo of Alba, Theobald Roggeris. The liturgical feast commonly occurs on 1 June but is also celebrated on 1 February with the “Feast of Remembrance” which opens with the nocturnal sound of the bells with which we remember the miracle of the bells which rang alone, without aid, when the tomb of our saint was re-discovered late at night on 31 January 1429.
The Roman Martyrology states of him today: “In Alba in Piedmont, Blessed Teobaldo, who, driven by love for poverty, gave all his possessions to a widow and became a porter out of a spirit of humility, to carry the burdens of others on himself.”
Teobaldo Roggeri was born in the Ligurian region to nobles from Piedmont. The careful reading and attentiveness to the Gospel caused him to abandon his noble status in favour of a simple and austere life. He was orphaned of both his parents during his childhood, so he set off for Alba in 1112 where he became an apprentice to a shoemaker.
Teobaldo worked as a cobbler and proved to be quite skilled in his trade which prompted the master, to hope in vain, that Teobaldo would wed his daughter, Virida and continue the business after his death. However, the apprentice instead made a private vow to remain chaste.
Teobaldo also worked as a porter and spent time transporting sacks of grain from place to place as part of his job. His master died in 1122 after a decade of working with Teobaldo. This prompted him to embark on a solemn pilgrimage – with a bundle and a staff – to the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in Spain and he later returned to Alba to resume his work. He used his meager income to help the poor of his region and he often slept outside the local Church, until it would be opened to admit him to spend further time before Our Lord in the Tabernacle.
On one occasion the owner of the shoe store where he worked, asked that he take a sack of wheat to the mill to be ground into flour. He agreed but gave handful after handful to the poor people that he encountered along the path, to the point, where no more wheat remained. He lacked the courage to face the woman back at the store and refused to go back without something to return, so he filled the bag with sand and left it on the woman’s doorstep before running off. The woman found flour in the bag though later learned of what had happened. This began the tale of the “Miracle of the Flour” and happened not long before his death.
Repenting of having reacted with an indignant jerk to an offense received, he wanted to atone for all his remaining life and began to sleep on the bare stone of the steps of the Church of St Lorenzo, where he also began to serve as a Sacristan in the hours free from deliveries.
Teobado died in 1150 after contracting a serious illness while visiting the widow of his cobbler master, where he died under her roof. At his request ,he was buried in an unmarked patch of ground between the two Churches of San Lorenzo and San Silvestro. His grave became a place of pilgrimage and miracles. After several decades, his grave grew obscure and was overgrown and lost. His remains were rediscovered late in the evening of 21 January 1429, almost by inspiration, by the Bishop of Alba, Alerino Rambaudi;. The Church bells rang out on their own during the night pf 31 January 1429 in celebration of the discovery. This miracle is remembered by the marble plaque inserted on the wall. by the Bishop himself in the Chapel dedicated to the saint, in the Alba Cathedral, where the remains were later transferred. This discovery reignited the memory of this humble and holy man, servant of all and the miracles began again at his tomb. Blessed Teobald was Beatified in 1841 by Pope Gregory XVI (cultus confirmation).