25 September: Bl. Herman “the Cripple”

One of my Roman interlocutors reminded me by text that today is the Feast of Bl. Herman of Reichenau, “the Cripple”, honored in the Benedictine Tradition.  This was an amazing guy!  He could barely move and hardly speak, stricken with many maladies.

When you might think that you have it bad, try reading about Bl. Herman!

As my interlocutor wrote:

For the Benedictines today is the feast of Bl. Hermann “the Cripple” who wrote the Salve Regina and the Alma Redemptoris  Mater. He was a genius of math, geometry, music and natural sciences.His story is simply amazing. Spina bifida, cleft palate, all sorts of illnesses. He needed a monk to help him for everything. But he had a wicked sense of humor and was admired universally.  But in today’s Europe his birth would have been considered a disgrace and aborted or euthanized. Or called an ossified unreconstructed manualist and neopelagian self-absorbed judgmentalist.

He could barely speak in an intelligible way and suffered excruciating pain all his life. And yet he was always joking with his fellow monks and encouraging them through adversities. Pope Leo IX and Emperor Henry III visited him and his advice was sought by prelates and authorities. This guy was a victory over the damages of the original sin through and through.

Here is a link to some of his works: HERE

The wiki entry on Bl. Herman lists many of his attributes.

He spent most of his life in the Abbey of Reichenau, an island on Lake Constance in Germany. Hermann contributed to all four arts of the quadrivium. He was renowned as a musical composer (among his surviving works are officia for St. Afra and St. Wolfgang). He also wrote a treatise on the science of music, several works on geometry and arithmetics and astronomical treatises (including instructions for the construction of an astrolabe, at the time a very novel device in Western Europe). As a historian, he wrote a detailed chronicle from the birth of Christ to his own present day, ordering them after the reckoning of the Christian era. One of his disciples Berthold of Reichenau continued it.

At twenty, Hermann was professed as a Benedictine monk, spending the rest of his life in a monastery. He was literate in several languages, including Arabic, Greek and Latin and wrote about mathematics, astronomy and Christianity. He built musical and astronomical instruments and was also a famed religious poet. When he went blind in later life, he began writing hymns, the best known of which is Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen).

Herman died in a monastery on September 24, 1054, aged 40. The Roman Catholic Church beatified him in 1863.

Raise a prayer to Bl. Herman to intercede with God for many graces on those who have children with great challenges.

Listen and think of the gift we have received from Bl. Herman.   Sung by the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, who now have the the beautifully, recently consecrated, Gower Abbey.

Alma Redemptoris Mater.

Salve Regina.


I see that  DiPippo over at NLM beat me to it!   He has a good post there on Bl. Herman.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. frjimt says:

    beautiful… so many wonderful & inspiring saints.. reminds me of bl margaret of castello…
    today is also the feast of st cleopas of emmaus.. a wonderful patron for travelers on a journey!

  2. Pingback: CatholicSaints.Info » Blog Archive » Blessed Herman the Cripple

  3. OLS says:

    I recently learned of Bl. Herman ‘the Cripple’. He introduced himself to me or perhaps it was Mary, Queen of Saints. Upon completion of praying the rosary I normally have a short litany of saints. This one night, after praying the rosary, I prayed the usual: St. Joseph, pray for us, St. Padre Pio, pray for us… and then, out of my mouth came: St. Herman, pray for us. To which I said, aloud: “St. Herman?! Who is St. Herman? Is there a St. Herman?” I continued my litany. A few days later I thought to myself: I should learn if there is actually a St. Herman. So, I looked on the internet. I found him.
    The information that I found said that his date of birth is February 18. And his death Sept. 24.
    Well. Our daughter was born on Feb. 18 and died on Sept. 20 and was buried on the 24th! She was born crippled from Trisomy 18. She lived 7mos and 2 days. I have experienced an honest ‘communion of the Saints’. I did not know of St. Herman (as I called him the night of my litany). I believe Heaven reached out and down into my life to introduce to me this wonderful Saint and I believe that he and my daughter are fast friends. If he isn’t a Saint yet he should be!
    Thanks Be to God for Blessed (Saint) Herman the Cripple, and for our daughter and for all those born with defects whom the world sees ‘as less’. Thanks Be to God for His Gifts! Salve Regina!

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