St Gerard of Brogne

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Benedictine abbot. The gentle saint was born to a wealthy family in 895 near Fosse, in France. From his youth, he had a reputation for being very friendly and kind. For a time he was a soldier and courtier of the Count of Namur. One day after a hunting trip with friends the group returned to his family estate tired and hungry. After he had invited everyone in to rest and eat Gerard slipped away to a little chapel that on his property and prayed for a long time.

He found that his tired body seemed rested and he forgot all about his hunger. The idea occurred to Gerard that if people only realized the joy of praying, they would want to pray all the time. He soon gave up life at court and joined the monastery of Saint-Denis. He loved the life there and eventually became a priest.

Gerard remained at St Denis for 11 years, when he was given permission to start a monastery on his own property at Brogne. His community flourished, but, longing for more peace and solititude, Gerard built himself a little hermitage next to the church.

He was not allowed to stay there for very long. His superiors asked him to visit the monasteries in Flanders and Normandy to assist them in their organisation and prayer life. For the next 20 years Gerard travelled around the country visiting monasteries in Flanders and Normandy, including Mont Saint-Michel.

When he realised his life on earth was nearly over, Gerard asked for permission to return to his hermitage back in Brogne. He died there peacefully on this day in 959.

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