Patron of the homeless

One of the churches I visited in Rome two years ago was Santa Maria ai Monti, where St. Benedict Joseph Labre is buried. He fainted there on April 16, 1784, and died soon after in a nearby house at the age of 35. He is buried there.

St. Benedict Joseph Labre

Deemed too frail or talentless by several religious orders, he became a wandering pilgrim. The Franciscan claim him as a Cordbearer, a Franciscan confraternity.

He lived among the poor and beggars, noted for his piety, especially his devotion to the Eucharist, and for sharing his food with the poor.

I read of St. Benedict Joseph many years ago and a friend told me of his devotion to this unlikely saint.

The visit to his tomb was for me a blessing – especially since the tomb and the church were bathed in sunlight.

St. Benedict Joseph Labre

Benedict Joseph shows us that holiness can be lived anywhere – and that we need to open our eyes and our hearts to those who appear the least likely to reflect the presence of the holiness of God.

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