Saints and Theology of the Heart - St. Benedict Joseph Labre

Mendicant lover of the Eucharist

Feast: April 16

St. Benedict was born in Amettes in 1748. He had an uncle who was a parish priest who took him in to teach him from a young age about the priesthood. At 16, he asked his uncle if he could become a Trappist monk but his parents rejected the idea.

When his uncle died in 1766, St. Benedict began applying to many different communities, including the La Trappe Abbey, the Cistercians and the Carthusians, but was rejected by each one. He decided to write a letter to his parents saying that they would not see him again, and began travelling as a pilgrim throughout Europe, especially in Rome, living in great poverty. He slept on the ground and ate only a piece of bread and some herbs each day. If he received more than he needed, he gave the rest to those who were poorer than himself. Throughout this pilgrimage in his life he went to many shrines in Italy, France, Spain and Switzerland.

He spent the last six years of his life in Rome. He died on April 16th, 1783 in Rome. Within three months after he had died, there were 136 miraculous cures attributed to him. He was canonized  by Pope Leo XIII on December 8th, 1881.



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