Europe October Religious Saints

Saint Bruno

Feast Day: October 6

Today we are feasting with… Saint Bruno.

Saint Bruno by Philippe de Champaigne

Bruno Hartenfaust

Bruno Hartenfaust was born in Cologne, Germany around the year of our Lord, 1030. Not much is known about his early life, but we do know that Bruno started teaching theology in France at the cathedral of Reims when he was in his mid-twenties. In 1075, Archbishop Manasses appointed Bruno as chancellor of Reims, allowing Bruno to relax from his long teaching career. Unfortunately, Archbishop Manasses was known to be violent, corrupt, and would often disregard ecclesiastical regulations. As a result, Bruno and his fellow clergymen voted to suspend Archbishop Manasses at a council in Autun, France.

Starting Over

This enraged Archbishop Manasses and he took his revenge on Bruno and his fellow clergymen by confiscating their goods and selling their benefices. With no place to live, Bruno moved back to Cologne, Germany. He would remain in Germany for two years until Archbishop Manasses was finally deposed.

Tired from his fight with Manasses, and the overall state of the church, Bruno convinced a few of his friends to join him in a hermitage. The Bishop of Grenoble donated some uninhabited land, located in the mountainous lower Alps, to the group in 1084. They began construction on three little huts and a small chapel in a place that would become known as La Grande Chartreuse.

The group would meet daily for Matins and Vespers but would spend the rest of their time in solitude, prayer, and study. Clothed in all white robes, the Carthusian Order was born with Bruno at the helm. He would continue to lead the order for another six years until Pope Urban II called him to Rome.

A Pope In Need

Pope Urban II wanted Bruno to help him as a Papal Adviser in reforming the clergy. Together Pope Urban II, Bruno, and several like-minded clergymen worked together to combat the heresies of Antipope Clement III, Emperor Henry IV, and several bishops that broke from the Church to side with Emperor Henry. However, Bruno deeply wished to return to monastic life and refused to be named as Archbishop of Reggio Calabria.

Still, Pope Urban II wanted to keep Bruno close by and would not let him return to his home in the Alps. Instead, Bruno and a few of his order settled in a small valley in Squillace, Italy. They built a little wooden chapel and some cabins to live in until they were able to grow the order. Eventually, they expanded to Santo Stefano in the Province of Vibo Valentia, Italy. Bruno would remain in the Carthusian Monastery of Serra San Bruno for the rest of his life.

Never Canonized

Bruno died on the 6th of October in the year of our Lord, 1101. Since the Carthusian Order maintains a strict observance of humility, the Catholic Church never formally canonized Saint Bruno. Instead, Pope Gregory XV included Saint Bruno in the General Roman Calendar in 1623, over 500 years after his passing.

Saint Bruno is the patron saint of Calabria, Italy, and the Carthusian Order.

Saint Bruno, pray for us!