Saints of the Order of Saint Benedict – Saint Rainald, Monk and Martyr

Saint Rainald, Monk and MartyrSaint Rainald was born of a noble family, and his youth was spent in palaces. When he grew older he followed the camp of King Charles, and then he discovered how dangerous to piety is a military life. He remained unsatisfied by all the attractions of the honours and splendours of this world, which only wearied his soul. He found that all such things are perishable, while that alone which is eternal, can never deceive. As soon as the mind of Saint Rainald, by serious meditation, became convinced of the delusions of all earthly treasures, he decided to reject the world, and fled from the army to enter the service of God. In accordance with the Rule of Saint Benedict, he was, for some time, tried by works of patience, and at length was admitted as a Lay-brother. Whatever work was most menial and most shirked by others, Rainald had to do – cut wood, sweep the pavement, wash the dishes, clean the hearth, and a thousand other things which belong to the lowest drudgery; for it is the custom in our Order that all who enter it, however illustrious they may be by birth, whether dukes or counts, or nobles of any degree, should be put to the hardest labours, in order that the pride which has grown with their growth may be crushed out of them by the burden of servile work. So Rainald descended from the Imperial Palace to live in the country and to feed swine; and in order that he might add to his store of virtues and of merits, he also subjected his body to long vigils and fasts, and acquired such sanctity that he seemed to have received the gift of healing, so that people came from all parts to be cured by him. Once, when he met a mother following her only son to the grave, Rainald burst into tears, and beating his breast, he cried, “O! most Holy Jesus, who once, when Thou were among men on earth, did restore a dead son alive to his mother, deign now to console this poor woman, who grieves for her only child;” and wonderful to relate! the dead man sat up on the bier and, looking round, saluted Rainald, his deliverer, by whom he was presented, living, and in perfect health, to his mother. But it is true that “The number of those who envy us, equals that of our admirers.” Those who ought to have been most grateful to the Saint, out of envy, conspired against his life. They beat in his skull by repeated blows, and threw his body into a well. His companions at the Monastery sought him in vain for some time with loving solicitude. At last they recovered his remains, and many prodigies were performed at his tomb. Rainald was martyred about the year of our Lord 650; his relics were translated to Dortmund, near Cologne, in the year 1056, and he was chosen the Patron of that town.

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