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Saint of the Day

St. Benedict Joseph Labre

April 17
French, 1748-1783
Patron Saint of the homeless and those suffering from mental illness.

Benedict Joseph was born to a middle class family in France, the eldest of 15 children. His parents ensured that he was provided with the finest educational opportunities as he matured, but Benedict Joseph only appeared interested in those that would bring him closer to the Lord. Benedict Joseph was single-minded in his pursuit of holiness. He was determined to enter a religious order, specifically the Trappists. For many years he traveled to different orders, seeking admission, but was always turned away at the onset due to his age, or following admission, due to his health. It is likely, although unknown, that Benedict Joseph suffered from a serious mental illness, yet throughout his suffering, remained true to the Lord, constantly seeking a deeper union with Him.
Saint Benedict Joseph Labre died of malnutrition in 1783. Due to his popularity, his body was laid in state for nearly a week, and visited by thousands during that time. 136 separate miraculous cures were attributed to him in the first 3 months following his death. His body was laid in a tomb, at an altar in a chapel of Santa Maria dei Monti in Rome, where it remains today.

Prayer to St. Benedict Joseph Labre:

Saint Benedict Joseph Labre, you gave up honor, money and home for love of Jesus. Help us to set our hearts on Jesus and not on the things of this world. You lived in obscurity among the poor in the streets. Enable us to see Jesus in our poor brothers and sisters and not judge by appearances. Make us realize that in helping them we are helping Jesus. Show us how to befriend them and not pass them by. Amen.

St. Benedict Joseph Labre, pray for us!

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