About St Benedict Joseph Labre Image

St Benedict Joseph Labre, the Beggar Saint, was an 18th century French Franciscan tertiary. He was unable to enter monastic life and so become a pilgrim, traveling to the shrines of Europe and begging.

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Who Was Saint Benedict Joseph Labre?

Benedict Joseph Labre was born on March 26, 1748, in Amettes, a small village in northern France. He was the eldest of a very large family born to Jean-Baptiste Labre and Anne-Barbe Leroy. His family was well-off financially, and they expected Benedict to follow a similar path of prosperity. However, from a young age, Benedict felt drawn to a life of extreme poverty and devotion to God.

At the age of 16, Benedict attempted to join the Trappist monastery of Sept-Fons, but he was rejected due to his delicate health and lack of education.

Undeterred, he continued to pursue his calling and eventually became a Third Order Franciscan, living a life of poverty, prayer, and penance.

Benedict Joseph Labre spent much of his life as a wandering pilgrim, traveling to various holy sites throughout Europe. He lived on alms and often slept outdoors or in abandoned buildings. Despite his own poverty, he was known for his generosity to others in need, often giving away what little he had to help those less fortunate than himself.

Labre’s life was characterized by extreme asceticism and devotion to prayer.

He spent long hours in contemplation and often fasted rigorously.

Despite his austere lifestyle, he was said to possess a joyful and peaceful demeanor, radiating a sense of inner serenity.

Throughout his travels, Labre became known for his holiness, humility, and compassion.

He was revered by many as a saint during his lifetime, and people sought his advice and prayers. He had a special devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and spent much of his time in prayer before the Eucharist.

On April 16, 1783, Benedict Joseph Labre died in Rome at the age of 35.

His body was found on the steps of the Church of Santa Maria ai Monti, where he had spent much of his time in prayer.

His death prompted an outpouring of devotion from the people of Rome, who considered him a saint. He was buried in the church, and his tomb became a place of pilgrimage for the faithful.

Benedict Joseph Labre was declared venerable by the Catholic Church in 1859, beatified in 1860, and canonized as a saint in 1883 by Pope Leo XIII.