Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Blessed Bernard of Menthon, Confessor

detail of a photo of a statue of Saint Bernard that stands at Little Saint Bernard Pass, an area of the Alps between France and Italy; taken on 19 July 2006 by Vberger; swiped off the Wikipedia web siteArticle

He was by birth a noble Savoyard, and spent his youth in innocence, penance, and serious studies. When he was grown up his father proposed to him an honourable match; but the young man earnestly desiring to devote himself to the service of the church, and recommending himself to God, privately withdrew, and put himself under the direction of Peter, archdeacon of Aoust, with whom he made great progress in piety and sacred learning. In 966 the bishop of Aoust appointed him archdeacon; which office comprised at that time the jurisdiction both of the grand vicar and official, consequently the whole government of the diocess under the bishop. Bernard, by pious meditation, prayer, and fasting, and by an indefatigable application to the function of preaching during forty-two years, banished ignorance and superstition, and reformed the diocesses of Aoust, Sion, Geneva, Tarantaise, Milan, and Novara. Having destroyed a famous idol of Jupiter on a high mountain in the Walais, and detected the cheat of the priests who gave oracles concealed in its hollow trunk, he erected near that place a monastery and an hospital, now called Great Saint Bernard; for he founded on two inhospitable roads and mountains the two monasteries of Great and Little Saint Bernard, which are hospitals for the entertainment of all travellers; without which charitable succours hundreds of travellers would yearly perish. Saint Bernard died at Novara, eighty-five years old, on the 28th day of May, 1008. He is honoured with a solemn office in many churches in Piedmont, etc., on the 15th of June, which was the day of his burial. His body is enshrined in the monastery at Novara. But his head is exposed in a rich case in the monastery of Monte-joye, which bears his name in the diocess of Aoust. See his two authentic lives with the notes of Papebroke, especially that wrote by Richard, his successor in the arch-deaconry of Aoust, by which it appears that he never was of the Cistercian Order, or that of the Regular Canons, as some have pretended.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Blessed Bernard of Menthon, Confessor”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. Saints.SQPN.com. 15 June 2013. Web. 1 October 2014. <>