Saturday, April 16, 2016

Patron saint of misfits and homeless single men who wear jeans and t-shirts to Mass ...

He tried his vocation several times, he couldn't settle down.  He maybe had ADD?

Some say he had mental illness, maybe bipolar - but I'm not so sure about that - these are all 20th century diagnoses.  If you need that, that's fine.  He will be whatever you want him to be, because his sole occupation was love.

He lived on the peripheries of everything and everyone.  He didn't - or couldn't fit in.  Our Lord told him to imitate St. Alexis, an earlier pilgrim saint - who couldn't be married.  They sanctified their lives, poor, and living on the margins.

Benedict Joseph was a Cordbearer of St. Francis.  He wasn't an oblate.  He had no initials after his name, like osf or ocds.  He wasn't a monk or a pseudo monk.  He wasn't a religious.  He wouldn't ever even consider himself a contemplative.  He was a nothing.  He had no status.  He was a single, Catholic man.  Oh.  And he was really, really poor too.  Penniless, no home, no bike, no nothing.  What he had, he shared with his fellow destitute companions in the streets.

Kids used to throw stones at him.  He suffered humiliations because he was a 'stranger and a pilgrim' not because he acted a fool.  He was dirty, stinking, lice infested ... but his sole occupation was love.

Pray for me my dear father St. Benedict Joseph, that I may repent, and no longer care what people think, so long as I can love God ... We are coming very close to one another now - and I'm still scared and have no courage - rescue me my brother, my father.  Pray for me now and at the hour of my death.  Thank you.

Thank you Most Holy Trinity, and Our Blessed Virgin Mary, for the graces lavished upon the little poor man, Benedict Jospeh Labre.  Oh, for a double portion of his spirit!

Song for this post here.


  1. Thomas Merton in the original "Seeds of Contemplation" introduces you to that saint as he talks about saints who don't fit the stereotype on page 63:
    " Sometimes his case is so bad that no monastery will keep him. He has to be dismissed, sent back to the world like Benedict Joseph Labre who wanted to be a Trappist and a Carthusian and succeeded in neither. He finally ended up as a tramp. He died in some street in Rome....And yet the only canonized saint, venerated by the whole Church, who has lived either as a Cistercian or a Carthusian since the Middle Ages is St. Benedict Joseph Labre."

  2. ....thank you Terry: I do often think about this Saint: one of the Littlest Ones: Jesus Mary I Love You Save Souls ! heart-felt aspirations: I wonder, what were his ? swoons of interior love and desire for God...

  3. Father Benedict Groeschel - who gave his life to the poorest and esteemed them above all the rich and famous people he knew- took his name from this great saint. We have a homeless man who comes to our local church - he is shabby, dirty clothes, long stringy hair, has a hard time making eye contact - who sort of reminds me of St. Benedict. I often see him putting money in the poor box, the only person I ever see do that. I often see him in deep prayer. Blessed are the poor in spirit.


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.