Dominican Saints 101: Bl. Bertrand of Garrigue

September 6, 2011

Bl. Bertrand of Garrigue (ca. 1195-1230, feast day – Sept. 6)…who’s that you might ask.  Aside from the well known saints of the Order, there are a plethora of Dominican blesseds,* such as the well known Bl. Jordan of Saxony, Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, and Bl. Reginald or Orleans, or the not so well known Bl. Albert de Villa D’Ogna, Bl. Isnard of Chiampo, or Bl. Guala of Bergamo. Aside from being known as “the beloved companion of Dominic,” “the dearest associate in all his labors, the sharer in his devotions,” “the imitator of his sanctity,” and “the inseparable companion of his journeys,” Bl. Bertrand was one of the first 16 followers of St. Dominic.  He often traveled with St. Dominic and shared stories of St. Dominic which made it into the Lives of the Brethren (see below for links). He is probably most famous for a story in which he was known to be very devoted to praying for sinners but not praying much for the souls in purgatory.  After a certain Br. Benedict approached him about this, Br. Benedict tried to convince him or the greater importance of praying for the souls in purgatory since they can’t do anything to hasten their entrance into heaven.  After not quite believing him, Bl. Bertrand received a vision of a soul carrying a bundle of wood which nearly crushed him.  He awoke and devoted prayed for the dead. You can read some brief primary source texts in the Lives of the Brethren: Part II, chapter 10chapter 19, Part VI, chapter 7.  You can also read a longer biography of him from First Disciples of Saint Dominic by Fr. Victor O’Daniel, OP. O God, who didst give to the Blessed Patriarch, Saint Dominic, Blessed Bertrand as an excellent companion and imitator, grant us, through his pious intercession, so to walk in his footsteps as to obtain his rewards.  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen. * – In fact, I’ve heard it said that with all of our blesseds included, we have more saints and blesseds than any other Order – I hope that’s true.

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