Spirituality for Today – June 2013 – Volume 17, Issue 11

Saint of the Month
St. Bernard of Aosta

June 15

A painting of Saint Bernard of AostaSaint Bernard of Aosta

He was probably born in Menthon in the Valley of Aosta, at the foot of the Alps in Italy. After obtaining an education in philosophy and law in Paris, he returned home and became archdeacon, which is the second most important Church official in the diocese. Bernard was given much freedom in his work and used it to reorganize the Church administration in northwestern Italy and establish new dioceses. In that area, the Church was still struggling with the many remnants of paganism. Another important task for him was to reform the life of the clergy, who were uneducated, spiritually neglected and often interested only in their income. Bernard coped with his tasks very well.

Bernard set for himself the life task of restoring communication between the Italian Peninsula and the rest of the continent. It was difficult because the pass through Jove Mountain was under control of the Moors from Côte d'Azur. They attacked the local residents and travelers. With time, the local feudal lords hired them as mercenaries to settle disputes between them or for raiding expeditions. Bernard drove out these mercenaries and organized a shelter at the pass where travelers and pilgrims going to Rome could rest, change horses and get medical treatment if necessary. To run the shelter, he created a community of canons following St. Augustine's rule. In his honor the pass was call St. Bernard's Pass. He was canonized in 1120.

You through Your cross
destroyed the wall of hostility
between people and nations.
By imitating You, St. Bernard of Aosta
opened a road connecting the nations.
Let his intercessions help us be apostles of Your love.
You live and reign for ages and ages.


From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives.