Feast of Blessed Herman of Reichenau (September 25)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Herman of Reichenau

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED HERMAN OF REICHENAU (FEBRUARY 18, 1013-SEPTEMBER 21, 1054)

Roman Catholic Monk, Liturgist, Poet, and Scholar

Also known as Blessed Hermianus Contractus, Blessed Herman the Lame, and Blessed Herman the Cripple

Living in 2018 is, in many ways, a great blessing.  For example, many surgeries and medical therapies that did not exist in much of the past have become available.

Blessed Herman of Reichenau, who lacked access to such surgeries and therapies, accomplished much, despite his circumstances, temporal and otherwise.  He, born in Altshausen, Swabia, on February 18, 1013, had spina bifida, cerebral palsy, and a cleft palate.  His parents, farmers, provided care for him until he was seven years old, when they left their son in the care of the Benedictine monks at Reichenau Abbey, Lake Constance.  There our saint spent the rest of his life.

Blessed Herman had a brilliant intellect and a brilliant, creative capacity.  He, a monk from the age of 20 years, wrote about astronomy, mathematics, theology, and several languages.  Our saint composed a chronicle of events, starting with the birth of Jesus and ending in 1054, the year of Blessed Herman’s death.  He also had the status of being the most famous living poet of his time.  Two of Blessed Herman’s compositions, incorporated into Roman Catholic liturgies, were the Alma Redemptoris Mater and the Salve Regina.  If that were not enough, Blessed Herman also built astronomical and musical instruments.

Blessed Herman, blind late in life, died at Reichenau Abbey, on September 21, 1054.  He was 41 years old.  His cultus existed without formal recognition until 1863, when Pope Pius IX confirmed the cultus.

Blessed Herman was fortunate to live in that monastery, where he had opportunities to contribute to society.  Many generations of Christians, especially those with a Roman Catholic piety, have benefited from at least two of the compositions of our saint.

This story also reminds us of the moral imperative never to warehouse those among us with physical disabilities.  Such disabilities are frequently difficult barriers, but they need not impair one’s ability to benefit society.  The extent to which that becomes reality depends largely on the decisions and actions of others, of course.

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Holy and loving God, you became incarnate in the form of Jesus of Nazareth,

thereby identifying with we mere mortals, with all our frailties.

We thank you for your faithful servant, Blessed Herman of Reichenau,

who, despite having to cope with physical conditions and disabilities

for which there were no treatments at the time,

made his great and lasting contributions to his society and to the Church.

May we act on our responsibilities to and for each other,

helping each other accomplish our potential, for your everlasting and eternal glory.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

2 Esdras 2:20-24

Psalm 84

1 Corinthians 12:12-26

Luke 1:46-55

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 11, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAPHNUTIUS THE GREAT, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF UPPER THEBAID

THE FEAST OF ANNE HOULDITCH SHEPHERD, ANGLICAN NOVELIST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN STAINER AND WALTER GALPIN ALCOCK, ANGLICAN CHURCH ORGANISTS AND COMPOSERS

THE FEAST OF SAINT PATIENS OF LYONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP

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