St Bruno is also known as St Bruno of Cologne was born in 1030 and diedin 1101. He was the founder of the Carthusian Order. He belonged to thefamily of Hartenfaust which was one of the principal families of thecity.
Not much is known about St Bruno’s childhood. The only informationavailable is that he studied theology in the present-day French city ofReims. After studying he returned to his native land in Cologne and hewas ordained a priest around 1055 and was provided with canonry at StCunibert’s.
Life as a Leader
In 1056 St Bruno was recalled by Bishop Gervais to Reims and thefollowing year he was he was made the head of the Episcopal School. Hispost involved being the director of the school and overseeing all theeducational establishments of the diocese. He was the leader foreighteen years and he maintained the prestige which the school of Reimshad attained under its former masters.
During his leadership, St Bruno acquired an excellent reputation as atheologian and philosopher. Among his students there were some prominentfigures such as Pope Urban II, Bishop of Langres, Bishop of Reggio andRobert. The school also produced a large number of prelates and abbots.
In 1075 St Bruno was appointed as the chancellor of the Roman CatholicArchdiocese of Reims. His duties included daily administration of thediocese. During that time the pious bishop was succeeded by Mnasses deGournai who was a violent aristocrat without any real vocation for thechurch.
In 1077 St Bruno discreetly avoided the cathedral city until 1080. Thiswas as a result of a conflict that was sparked when St Bruno and theclergy at Reims urged for the suspension of de Gournai. De Gournai didnot take the suspension lying down, he in fact had his retainers pulldown the houses of his accusers and confiscated their goods. A popularriot by the masses compelled de Gournai to withdraw and seek refuge withHenry IV.
Other Form of Service
St Bruno left the Reims and placed himself and his companions under thedirection of Robert of Molesme and they formed the Cistercians in 1098with a band of other hermits. He however realized that it was not hisvocation. He went with six of his companions to Hugh of Chateauneuf whowas the bishop of Grenoble who installed them as the first lay brothers.
These lay brothers built an oratory with small individual cells wherethey lived isolated in poverty being fully occupied in prayer and study.They were frequently honored by the visits of St Hugh who became likeone of themselves.
In 1090 St Bruno was called to Rome by his former students Eudes ofChatillon who had become a pope. The pope needed competent and devotedallies to continue the work of reform commenced by Gregory VII. There isno information on the exact position he occupied in Rome because it wasconfidential. He worked as an advisor but he was wisely kept in thebackground.
Even though St Bruno would have preferred to return to his solitary lifebut he had to remain in Italy near the papal court to which he could becalled at need. In 1091 St Bruno with some followers who followed himconstructed a little wooden chapel and cabins in a small forested highvalley in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Squillace and they lived therein a life of prayer and devotion.
At the turn of a new century, St Bruno’s companions died one after theother and Bruno followed on 6 October 1101 in Sierra San Bruno.
St Bruno was venerated in the Roman Catholic Church and she wasbeatified by Pope Leo X in 1514 and he was canonized in February 1623 byPope Gregory XV.
St Bruno’s Feast day is celebrated on the 6th October and he isattributed with holding the skull with a book and a cross with aCarthusian habit. He may be crowned with a halo of seven stars.
He is known as the patron saint of Germany, Calabria, monasticfraternities, Carthusians, trade-mark, Ruthenia and possessed people.
St Bruno’s disciples praised him for his three talents namely his greatspirit of prayer, extreme mortification, and devotion to the BlessedVirgin
5 Interesting Facts About St. Bruno
- St Bruno founded the first two communities of the Carthusian
- St Bruno refused to be appointed a bishop and instead opted for
his solitary life.
- Bishop Grenoble had a vision of St Bruno before he had visited
- After the death of St Bruno, a servant was sent to travel through
Italy, France, Germany and England announcing his death.
- St Bruno was never formally canonized because the Carthusian Order
maintains a strict observance of humility, he was just included in the
General Roman Calendar.
Prayer to St. Bruno
Father, you called Saint Bruno to serve You in solitude. In answer tohis prayers help us to remain faithful to You amid the changes of thisworld. We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who livesand reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.