Saints of the Day – Gerlac of Valkenberg, Hermit

detail from an 1860 holy card of Saint Gerlach, artist unknown; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

(also known as Gerlach)

Died c.1170. A licentious Dutch military man and brigand, who experienced a moral conversion upon the death of his wife. Thereafter, he went to Rome where he spent seven years nursing the sick and doing penance for the sins of his youth. He then returned to his native Holland, gave his possessions to the poor, and became a hermit in a hollow tree on his estate near Valkenberg, where he was noted for his extreme austerity. The last years of his life were embittered by a dispute with neighboring monks who wanted him to enter their monastery. He had a spiritual pact with Saint Hildegard (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Gill). Saint Gerlac is portrayed in art as a hermit with an ass near him. Sometimes he may be shown living in his hollow tree or with a thorn in his foot (Roeder). Venerated at Valkenberg, the Netherlands (Roeder).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 5 December 2020. Web. 18 January 2021. <>