Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Feast Day: St. Bruno, founder of the Grand Chartreuse

Today is the feast of St. Bruno, the founder of the Grande Chartreuse (also known as the Carthusians).  Bruno, born in 1030 in Cologne, came from a wealthy family and was highly educated.  Ordained a priest, Bruno courageously criticized the excess worldliness of his fellow clergy.  Following a vision, he moved (with 8 others) to establish a monastery in the French Alps near Grenoble.  The Grande Chartreuse is still an active order today -- for a wonderful look into this ermetic order, watch the widely acclaimed Into Great Silence ... it is an amazing movie!

Full disclaimer:  I'd never heard of St. Bruno or the Carthusians until we moved to Austria in 2001 and lived/learned at the Kartause Maria Thron (that is, Carthusian Monastery dedicated to the Throne of Mary) -- the image on the prayer card I made is from one of the frescos painted on the ceiling of the "chapel" at the Kartause.  We lived in the shadow of the renovated monastery, next door to a former monk's cell.  So, my interest and love of St. Bruno is fairly recent.  Did you know, do to the Carthusians wanting to be anonymous, there are no gravestones marking individual burials, but rather the bones are all together in an ossuary?  Or that St. Bruno was never officially canonized but Leo X allowed the Carthusians to celebrate his feast in the 1500s and the Church added "St. Bruno" to the list of saints in the 1600s?  Or that Carthusians, living in their own private quarters, not talking to anyone but God on most days, always have a skull -- to remind them that life on earth is fleeting and that the goal is eternal life?  Cool, huh?

From the Collect:
Father, You called Saint Bruno to serve You in solitude. In answer to his prayers help us to remain faithful to You amid the changes of this world We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen. 

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