Tagged: Dominican Saint

Blessed Bertrand of Garrique

Bl.Bertrand-of-Garrigue-smBertrand was a secular priest under the Cistercians, missioner, and ardent opponent of Albigensianism when he first met Saint Dominic in the party of Bishop Diego. Bertrand may have been the one to recruit Dominic in the battle against the French heretics because they worked closely together in this mission for the rest of their lives.

Bertrand joined the first Dominican friars by receiving the habit at Toulouse in 1216. Dominic left him in charge of the community when he traveled to Rome to seek papal approval of the order. Bertrand’s zeal and experience played an important role in the founding of the Friar Preachers. When the brothers were sent out in little groups on missions, Bertrand was left in Paris with Matthew of France, where he helped to form the Dominican tradition of learning and governed the first foundation at Paris.

While Bertrand’s advice and prayers helped to establish the order, he is best remembered as the closest friend and traveling companion of Saint Dominic, until he was appointed as provincial of Provence. He witnessed the miracles and heavenly favors bestowed upon his friend and provided us with insightful testimony about the heart and mind of the founder.

Bertrand himself was credited with many miracles, both during his life and after his death. Others considered him a “second Dominic” in austerity and holiness, but he humbly overlooked his own claims to sanctity in his loving insistence on those of his friend.

Bertrand was preaching a mission to the Cistercian sisters of Saint Mary of the Woods near Garrigue, when he fell sick and died. He was buried in the sisters’ cemetery until the frequency of miracles suggested that he should be given a more suitable shrine. His relics were lost and shrine destroyed during the religious wars, but pilgrimages were still made to “Saint Bertrand’s Cemetery” until the time of the French Revolution.

Born: at Garrigue, diocese of Nîmes, France, c. 1195

Died: In 1230 he died in Le Bouchet

Beatified: cultus confirmed by Pope Leo XIII in 1881

Blessed Guala

BlessedGualaGuala was one of the first disciples of Saint Dominic, attracted by the Dominican ideal in 1219, when he heard the founder preach. He received the habit from Dominic at the time the friary opened in Bergamo. After a short novitiate, he was appointed prior there.

Guala proved to be an able superior and a practical administrator and builder. He was on the committee that planed the convent of Saint Agnes in Bologna. During a delay in the construction of the convent because of the opposition of the family of Blessed Diana d’Andalò, who was financing the project, Guala was sent to Brescia to assume the position of its first prior.

During this period Guala had the revelation of Saint Dominic’s greatness that became the subject of many early legends. Although they were good friends, Guala did not know that Dominic was dying on their return from a chapter. Guala had fallen asleep with his head leaning against the belltower of the conventual church at Brescia when he had a vision of two ladders coming down from heaven. Our Lord was visible at the top of one ladder, and Our Lady at the top of the other. Angels were ascending and descending on them. As Guala watched, a friar, who sat at the foot of one ladder with his face covered was drawn up to heaven and great glory surrounded him. Guala awoke, deeply affected by the vision, and went immediately to Bologna, where he found that Saint Dominic had died at the time of his vision.

In 1226, Guala was named the prior of Bologna’s Saint Nicholas abbey, famous for its regularity and fervor. While there, Pope Honorius III appointed him arbiter between Bologna and Modena. Guala worked hard to forge a treaty that lasted 10 years. The following year Pope Gregory IX asked him to negotiate between Emperor Frederick II and the Lombard confederacy–an even more daunting diplomatic task. Guala was also commissioned to convince Frederick to keep his vow to lead a crusade. He was unable to resolve matters between the parties, but at least they maintained the status quo of an uneasy peace.

In 1228, Guala was consecrated bishop of Brescia. As such, he negotiated a number of treaties between warring cities. Frederick broke all the promises he had made and attacked the cities that had remained loyal to the pope. In 1238, Frederick’s army besieged Brescia, but the attackers had to withdraw within three months, which is credited to Guala.

Guala’s contemporaries described him as “a man of great prudence, well acquainted with the world, and of accomplished manners,” and said that “he governed the diocese entrusted to his care with such holiness that, both during his life and after his death, he wrought many wonders through God.”

The years of labor and civil strife wore him down. He resigned his see in 1242 in order to enter complete seclusion and pray without interruption in preparation for death. Therefore, he retired to the Vallumbrosan monastery of San Sepolcro d’Astino, where he lived as a hermit until his death. He was buried in the Benedictine church, and after many miracles at his tomb, his cause was promoted.

Born: in Bergamo, Italy

Died: in San Sepolcro d’Astino, Italy, in 1244

Beatified: cultus approved in 1868 by Pope Pius IX.