Saint Benedict Joseph Labre

Saint Benedict Joseph Labre

Birth
Amettes, Departement du Pas-de-Calais, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
Death 17 Apr 1783 (aged 35)
Rome, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy
Burial Rome, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy
Memorial ID 26957529 · View Source
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Roman Catholic Saint. Amettes born Benedict Joseph Labre was the eldest of fifteen children of a prosperous shopkeeper. Noted for performing public acts of penance for his sins since childhood, at the age of twelve his education was overseen by his paternal uncle, Reverend François-Joseph Labre, curé of Erin, with whom he was sent to live. During the six years that followed under his uncle's roof he made considerable progress in the study of Latin and history but found himself unable to conquer a constantly growing distaste for any form of knowledge which did not make directly for union with God. Resolved to embrace religious life as a Trappist at sixteen, on the advice of his uncle he returned to Amettes to submit his idea to his parents for their approval, but was unable to win their consent. Returning thus to Erin, after the heroic death of his uncle during a typhus epidemic in September 1766, Benedict returned to Amettes within two months. Still desiring to enter La Trappe, his parents fearing that further opposition would be resistance to the will of God agreed with his proposal, but his maternal uncle, l'Abbé Vincent suggested instead that he would apply to join the Carthusians at Val-Sainte-Aldegonde rather than La Trappe. With his petition unsuccessful, he was directed to another monastery of the same Order at Neuville but was told that as he was not yet twenty there was no hurry for him to enter such life. Applying twice unsuccessfully to be received at La Trappe, for six weeks he was a postulant with the Carthusians at Neuville before finally obtaining admission to the Cistercian Abbey of Sept-Fonts in November 1769. But after his health gave way, it was decided that his vocation lay elsewhere. Setting out for Rome, he understood "that it was God's will that like Saint Alexis he should abandon his country, his parents, and whatever is flattering in the world to lead a new sort of life: a life most painful, most penitential, not in a wilderness nor in a cloister, but in the midst of the world, devoutly visiting as a pilgrim the famous places of Christian devotion". Joining the Third Order of Saint Francis, clad in an old coat, a rosary about his neck, another between his fingers, his arms folded over a Crucifix which lay upon his breast, in a small wallet he carried a Holy Testament, a breviary, a copy of the "Imitation of Christ" and some other pious books. Sleeping on the ground and for the most part in the open air, for food he was satisfied with a piece of bread or some herbs. He never asked for alms and was anxious to give away to the poor. Pilgrimaging to the famous shrines of Europe, he visited Loreto, Assisi, Naples, Bari and Fabriano in Italy; Einsiedeln in Switzerland; Valletta, Malta; Compostela in Spain and Parav-le-Monial in his native France. Spending his last six years of life in Rome, leaving it only once a year to visit the Holy House of Loreto, he is reported to have talked rarely, prayed often and accepted the abuse he received quietly. Said to be gifted with levitation and bilocation, he is considered to have cured some of the other homeless he met and to have multiplied bread for them. A familiar figure in the city of Rome, known as the "Saint of the Forty Hours" for his dedication to the Quarant'Ore, in his final weeks he sank down on the steps of the church of Santa Maria dei Monti in Rome and utterly exhausted was carried to a neighboring house despite his protests, where he died of his malnutrition on April 17, 1783 during Holy Week. With his confessor authoring his biography, attributing 136 separate cures to his intercession within three months of his death, he was beatified by Pope Pius IX in 1860 and later canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1881. His liturgical celebration is held on April 16 and is invoked as the patron saint of unmarried men, mental illness and mentally ill people, beggars and homeless.

Bio by: Eman Bonnici


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Eman Bonnici
  • Added: 20 May 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 26957529
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Saint Benedict Joseph Labre (26 Mar 1748–17 Apr 1783), Find A Grave Memorial no. 26957529, citing Chiesa di Santa Maria ai Monti, Rome, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy ; Maintained by Find A Grave .