Saint of the Day ~ September 25

BLESSED HERMAN CONTRACTUS (1013-1054), religious

Today, the Church honors Blessed Herman Contractus, also know as Herman the Cripple. In spite of Herman’s physical limitations, he was a very gifted monk who served the Church faithfully through his many academic talents.

Born in Germany in 1013 into a noble family, Herman was deformed at birth, severely afflicted with a cleft palate, cerebral palsy and spina bifida, and he was unable to move without assistance. It was immensely difficult for him to learn to read and write, however he persisted and his iron will and remarkable intelligence were soon made apparent.

Upon discovering the brilliance of his son’s mind, his father, Count Wolverad II, sent him at the age of seven to live with the Benedictine monks on the island of Reichenau in Southern Germany. He lived his entire life on the island, taking his monastic vows in 1043.

Although he was bedridden and a speech impediment made him nearly impossible to understand, Herman was a genius, who studied and wrote on astronomy, theology, math, history and poetry, and was knowledgeable in Arabic, Greek, and Latin. He also built astronomical equipment and musical instruments and was the most famous religious poet of his day.

When he eventually became blind, Herman began writing hymns. His “Salve Regina,” and “Alma Redemptoris Mater,” both hymns to the Blessed Virgin Mary, are the best known.

We, as a Church, are indebted to him chiefly for a chronicle (historical record) he wrote of the most important events from the birth of Christ to his day. It is the earliest of the medieval, universal chronicles now existing, and was compiled from numerous sources, being a monument to his great diligence as well as to his extraordinary scholarship and strictest regard for accuracy.

On September 21, 1054, while at the Reichenau Abbey, Herman went to his eternal reward at the age of 41, due to complications related to his many afflictions. He was beatified in 1863 by Blessed Pope Pius IX.

We commemorate his feastday on September 25.

(From,, and



(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Commons for Holy Men)

“God our Father, You alone are holy; without You nothing is good. Trusting in the prayers of Blessed Herman, we ask You to help us to become the holy people You call us to be. Never let us be found undeserving of the glory You have prepared for us.

“We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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