Saint of the Day Quote: Blessed Herman the Cripple


Hail Holy Queen

Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy!   Our life, our sweetness, and our hope!

To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.  To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.  Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us;  and after this, our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. 

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.  Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Prayer of Blessed Herman the Cripple



Christopher Columbus was in the midst of his voyage across the Atlantic 527 years ago.  He had a deep devotion to the Virgin Mary.  Each night he would assemble the crew on his ship to sing the Salve Regina.  The hymn was written in the eleventh century by Blessed Hermann the Cripple, a truly fascinating figure.



Born on July 18, 1013, he was a son of Wolverad II, Earl of Altshausen.  He entered this world with maladies that would be considered overwhelming in our time and in the eleventh century entirely beyond hope: a cleft palate, cerebral palsy and spina bifida, or perhaps  Lou Gehrig’s disease or spinal muscular atrophy.  In any event he could barely move, and could hardly speak.  He was placed in a monastery at age 7, no doubt his parents fearing that all that would occur for their son for the remainder of his time in this vale of tears was that he would be made as comfortable as possible until his afflicted life came to an end.

Among the monks he flourished.   At twenty he took his vows as a Benedictine monk. He spent most of his life at the Abbey of Reichenau.  He quickly demonstrated that a keen mind, as well as a beautiful soul, inhabited his wreck of a body. He mastered several languages including Latin, Arabic and Greek.  His genius was catholic in its scope:  he wrote a treatise on the science of music, several works on geometry, mathematics and astronomy, a chronicle of events from the Crucifixion to his time and composed religious poetry.  He built musical instruments and astronomical devices.  Students flocked to him throughout Europe, drawn not only by his learning but also by his sweet demeanor.  It is impossible to overstate the importance of his role in the scientific renaissance sweeping through Europe in the eleventh century.

Going blind in his later years, he became a noted composer of hymns, including the Salve Regina.  Dying in 1054 at age 40, he was beatified by Pio Nono in 1863.


Hermann the Cripple

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  1. CAM, I guess you are right. “Only” beatified. I hope I can achieve such a lofty goal.

    “The declaration by the pope as head of the Church that one of its members deserves for saintly life as confessor or heroic death as martyr, to be entitled Blessed, that is, regarded as dwelling in the happiness of heaven. The declaration is preceded by a double process, the first consisting of an examination into the life, virtues, writings, and reputation for holiness, or martyrdom, of the Servant of God in question, conducted ordinarily by the bishop of the place in which he or she died or lived a long time. In the case of a martyr no miracles are required in this first process, but they are required for others. The second process, known as the Apostolic process, is instituted by the Holy See in case the first inquiry shows that there is a likelihood of proving that the Servant of God practised virtue to an heroic degree, or died by the heroic death of martyrdom. To go further and obtain canonization, miracles are required for both martyrs and confessors.”

  2. Hermann Contractus!! ❤️Such an inspiration.
    His hymn Salve Regina was so moving to Bernard of Clairvaux and Bernard added the “O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.”

  3. I don’t think I’ve ever heard his story before – humbling and amazing. I wrote to someone yesterday about looking beyond our circumstances and the song that (paraphrasing) states: “…look beyond the bread we eat, see our Savior and our Lord.” Easy to sing but hard to do. It is especially difficult for me to look beyond disabilities – I’ve always felt uncertain of how to act around a child coping with palsy or spina bifida. I treat them with respect and sometimes bend down to say hi (they are almost always in a wheelchair) but tend to move away as I don’t know what else to do. Yet here was a beautiful and remarkable person “hidden” (I was going to say trapped but I don’t think that sounds correct after reading this story) inside what we assumed was a lost cause of a body. Yet his soul reflected God’s glory much better than mine does. I will be trying to truly “look beyond” physical features and circumstances a little better in the future…May God bless all who visit TAC!

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