Saint of the Day – 6 December – Saint Gerard of La Charité OSB (Died c 1109) Abbot, Founder of Monasteries, Reformer. Born towards the end of the 9th Century in the County of Namur in Belgium and died in 1109 of natural causes. Also known as – Gerhard of La-Charité-sur-Loire.
Gerard was born of a noble family towards the end of the ninth Century, in the County of Namur in Belgium. An engaging sweetness of temper, added to a strong inclination to piety and devotion, gained for him, from the cradle, the affection and esteem of all.
He at first followed the career of arms but never lost his piety amid the distractions and temptations of camp life. When sent on an important mission to the Court of France, by the Count of Namur, he was greatly edified by the fervour of the Benedictine Monks of Saint Denys in Paris and earnestly desired to join them and to consecrate himself to God. Returning home he settled his temporal affairs and returned to Monastery of St Denis, with great joy. He lived for eleven years with devout fervour in this Monastery, and then was Ordained a Priest.
So great was his reputation for holiness that in 931 he was sent by his Abbot to found an Abbey upon his own estate at Brogne, three leagues from Namur. He established this new Abbey, then built himself a little cell near the Church, where he lived as a recluse. But not for long, for he was then called to establish new Monasteries, which he did at Auxerre, Nevers, Bourges, Meaux, Paris, etc… Over the years, the foundations extended to England, Portugal, Venice and other Italian Cities.
A new mission was his next role – that of introducing strict monastic discipline in eighteen Abbeys. Gerard applied himself to this immense undertaking with energy and zeal and completed it successfully, assuming the duties of a Benedictine Abbot General over these and all the new foundations.
When he had spent almost twenty years in these zealous labours, feeling his end approaching, he requested permission to become a simple Monk and he again retired to his cell at the Abbey of Brogne, which is now named for him, to prepare his soul for the final journey. To this he was called on 3 October c 1109.