Saint Brigid Religious Education
100 Mayflower Street
West Hartford, CT 06110
This saint has the honor of having founded a religious order which,
as the saying goes, has never had to be reformed because it was never
deformed. No doubt both the founder and the members would reject such
high praise, but it is an indication of the saint's intense love of a
penitential life in solitude.
He was born in Cologne, Germany, became a famous teacher at Rheims
and was appointed chancellor of the archdiocese at the age of 45. He
supported Pope Gregory VII (May 25) in his fight against the decadence
of the clergy and took part in the removal of his own scandalous
archbishop, Manasses. Bruno suffered the plundering of his house for his
He had a dream of living in solitude and prayer, and persuaded a few
friends to join him in a hermitage. After a while he felt the place
unsuitable and, through a friend, was given some land which was to
become famous for his foundation "in the Chartreuse" (from which comes
the word Carthusians). The climate, desert, mountainous terrain and
inaccessibility guaranteed silence, poverty and small numbers.
Bruno and his friends built an oratory with small individual cells at
a distance from each other. They met for Matins and Vespers each day,
and spent the rest of the time in solitude, eating together only on
great feasts. Their chief work was copying manuscripts.
The pope, hearing of Bruno's holiness, called for his assistance in
Rome. When the pope had to flee Rome, Bruno pulled up stakes again, and
spent his last years (after refusing a bishopric) in the wilderness of
He was never formally canonized, because the Carthusians were averse
to all occasions of publicity. Pope Clement extended his feast to the
whole Church in 1674.