SAINT BRUNO of COLOGNE (c.1030-1101), priest and founder
Today, the universal Church honors Saint Bruno, famous for his considerable learning and a deep spirit of prayer, and founder of the Carthusian Order, one of the strictest Orders on solitude, prayer and personal mortifications in the Catholic Church.
Bruno was born in Cologne, Germany about the year 1030. As a youth, he was educated in Paris and Rheims, France, excelling in his studies, especially in the subjects of theology and the writings of the Church Fathers. He returned to Cologne and was ordained a priest in 1055, but very soon after, in 1057, he was invited back to Rheims to teach.
On the retirement of the school’s director, Father Bruno was appointed as his successor and was administrator of the school for 18 years until 1075. During that time, many illustrious students emerged from under Bruno’s careful intellectual formation, including Blessed Pope Urban II.
However, Father Bruno had a dream of living in solitude and prayer, and persuaded a few friends to join him in a hermitage. After a while, he felt the place unsuitable and, through a friend, was given some land which was to become famous for his foundation of the Carthusian Order in the Chartreuse region in Dauphiné in Southeastern France. The climate, desert, mountainous terrain and inaccessibility guaranteed silence, poverty and small numbers of followers.
Father Bruno and his friends built an oratory with small individual cells at a distance from each other. They met for Matins (also called Lauds or Morning Prayer) and Vespers (Evening Prayer) each day, and spent the rest of the time in solitude, meeting only for the celebration of the Eucharist and eating together only on great feasts. Their chief work was copying manuscripts.
However, in 1090, Pope Urban II, his friend and former student, called Father Bruno to the Papal court in order to be his advisor, where he silently aided in all the councils of the time.
On a trip to Calabria, Italy with the pope, he pleaded to return to his solitary life. The pope granted him his wish, but insisted that he remain in Italy so he could assist him when needed. Father Bruno spent his last 10 years in Torre in the region of Calabria where he and his companions built a hermitage; and, in 1095, the Monastery of Saint Stephen was built.
Father Bruno died from natural causes on October 6, 1101. Renowned not only for his prodigious learning, but also for his great spirit of prayer, Saint Bruno exhibited in his spiritual life a profound and filial devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. His death was announced in parishes and monasteries throughout Europe.
In 1674, Pope Clement X extended his feastday to the entire Church. His remains are interred in the Monastery of Saint Stephen in Torre.
We commemorate his feastday on October 6.
(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.com, americancatholic.org, catholicculture.org, and newadvent.org)
(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Proper for Saint Bruno)
“Father, You called Saint Bruno to serve You in solitude. In answer to his prayers, help us to remain faithful to You amidst the changes of this world.
“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.”