Saints of the Order of Saint Benedict – Saint Berectus, Abbot

illustration of Saint Berectus, Abbot, from the book 'Saints of the Order of Saint Benedict', designed by Father Amandus LiebhaberAs, towards the close of his life, a globe of flame showed itself in the heavens to Saint Benedict, so on Saint Berectus too, immediately after his birth, there shone a like ball of fire, a portent which evidently pointed to his future fame as a worker of miracles. Tradition tells us that Caemginus was the name of the Abbot by whom he was admitted as a monk, and that his training was entrusted to Dagacus; both were distinguished for their sanctity. Very little is known of the life of this Saint beyond the fact that the Almighty made him the instrument, often the unconscious instrument, of the most marvellous miracles.

One of these miracles is especially worthy of being recorded. The monarch who at this time ruled Breffny was a young man of stunted stature; his face was covered with ulcers and his eyes contracted; on his back there was an immense hump; besides, he was asthmatic, bald, and bow-legged; in a word, Nature could scarcely provide a more pitiable dwelling for a kingly soul. This prince, who often bemoaned his miserable condition, at last thought of Saint Berectus and the wonderful cures he had effected. To our Saint, accordingly, he betook himself, and earnestly besought relief from the afflictions that made his life a burden. Then the unfortunate dwarf, with perfect faith in the goodness and compassion of the Saint, wrapped himself up in his cowl, and reclining his head on the lap of the holy Father,’ fell fast asleep. Saint Berectus, in pity for one so severely afflicted, raised his eyes to Heaven, and with his whole soul prayed for help from Above. The Almighty deigned to listen to his prayers, and, while the prince still slept, lo! all his deformities were removed, and he awoke a perfectly formed and shapely man.

In working miracles of this kind, and in the practice of the severest austerities and the most exemplary piety, the life of this remarkable Saint was spent, till it pleased Divine Providence to call him to his eternal reward, A.D. 580.

– text and illustration taken from Saints of the Order of Saint Benedict by Father Aegedius Ranbeck, O.S.B.