In the Benedictine Confederation, today is the feast of the saintly abbots of Cluny.
Blessed Berno was a monk of St. Martin’s in Autun, before becoming abbot of Baume, Gigny and finally Cluny. He died in 927.
St. Odo studied in Paris before entering Baume, where he became abbot in 924. He succeeded Berno as abbot of Cluny in 927. He extended the Cluniac observance to many monasteries and collaborated with several popes in reform and peacemaking efforts. He wrote poetry and a life of St. Gerald of Aurillac (October 13). He died at Tours in 942.
St. Majolus inherited estates in Provence which were overrun by Saracen invaders. He studied at Lyons and became archdeacon of Macon. When he was urged to become bishop of Besançon, he joined Cluny. He succeeded Aymard as abbot in 965. He collaborated with Otto the Great and Otto II in the reform of the church, but refused the latter’s suggestion that he become pope. He was known as a warm and likeable man with a strong contemplative bent. He died in 994.
St. Odilo became abbot ofCluny that same year.. He was known for his austere life and charity toward the poor. With Abbot Richard of Saint-Vanne he gained acceptance for the “truce of God” and sanctuary for those seeking refuge in a church. He inaugurated All Souls’ Day. He died at Souvigny in 1049.
St. Hugh was the son of a count, and entered Cluny at 14. He was ordained when he was 20, was made prior the next year, and five years later became abbot, an office he held for sixty years. Under him every dimension of the Cluniac reform was expanded. He traveled extensively on behalf of the reform papacy. He was an excellent diplomat, as well as a sincere spiritual leader of a vast monastic federation. He died in 1109.
Blessed Peter the Venerable was elected abbot of Cluny in 1122. His predecessor, Pontius, was not a competent manager. Peter was a well-educated man and built up a good library at Cluny. He promoted the Cluniac reform in Spain and had the Koran translated into Latin, and later wrote a polemical work against Islam. He defended Jews and heretics against persecution. After some of Peter Abelard’s theological ideas were condemned, Peter the Venerable offered him a place of refuge and later effected a reconciliation between Abelard and St. Bernard (August 20). Peter died in 1156.
Tomorrow is the name day of our confrere Fr. Hugh Fiess.
Our daily martyrology was written by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB. Copyright © 2008 by the Monastery of the Ascension, Jerome, ID 83338.