Patron Saint of Rock Climbers

Here is some information of St. Bernard of Menton, patron Saint of Rock climbers. There are articles on spirituality and rock climbing here, here and here. I also love it how he has dogs around him, below a picture of my dog, Petrus, who could have been a good rescue dog, but is content chasing squirrels most of the time.

From the Martyrology:  At Novara, St. Bernard of Menton, confessor.  On Mount Jou in the Alps of Valais in Switzerland, he founded the famous monastery and hospice.  Pope Pius XI appointed him the heavenly patron not only of those who live in or travel across the Alps, but of all mountain climbers.

From Wikipedia: 
Since the most ancient times there has been a path across the Pennine Alps leading from the valley of Aosta to the Swiss canton of Valais. The traditional route of this pass is covered with perpetual snow from seven to eight feet deep, and drifts sometimes accumulate to the height of forty feet. Although the pass was extremely dangerous, especially in the springtime on account of avalanches, it was often used by French and German pilgrims on their way to Rome. For the convenience and protection of travelers St. Bernard founded a monastery  and hospice at the highest point of the pass, 8,000 feet above sea-level, in the year 962, whence the pass came to bear his name. A few years later he established another hospice on the Little St. Bernard Pass, a mountain saddle in the Graian Alps, 7,076 feet above sea-level. Both were placed in charge of Augustinian monks after pontifical approval had been obtained by Bernard during a visit to Rome.

In 1913 these hospices were renowned for the generous hospitality extended to all travelers over the Great and Little St. Bernard, so called in honor of the founder of these charitable institutions. At all seasons of the year, but especially during heavy snow-storms, the heroic monks accompanied by their well-trained dogs, the common herding dogs of the Valais (St Bernards are attested from the 17th century), went out in search of victims who might have succumbed to t

he severity of the weather. They offered food, clothing, and shelter to the unfortunate travelers and took care of the dead. They depended on gifts and collections for sustenance. At this time the order consisted of about forty members, the majority of whom lived at the hospice while some had charge of neighboring parishes.

The last act of St. Bernard’s life was the reconciliation of two noblemen whose strife threatened a fatal outcome. He was interred in the cloister of St. Lawrence. Although venerated from the 12th century in such places of northern Italy as Aosta, Novara and Brescia, he was not formally recognized as a saint until his canonization  by Innocent XI  in 1681. His feast is celebrated on 28 May. Pope Pius XI  confirmed Bernard as patron saint of the Alps in 1923. His image appears in the flag of some detachments of the Tyrolean Alpine Guard.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *