Saint Benedict-Joseph Labré, 1748–1783
Saint Benedict-Joseph Labré was the oldest of eighteen children. As a young man, he studied with his uncle, a parish priest. Benedict-Joseph wanted to be a priest, but he had a mental disease and couldn’t go to a seminary. Instead, he became a beggar. From the time he was very young, Saint Benedict-Joseph confessed all of the wrong things he did. He would ask God to forgive him. Then he would promise God he would try very hard not to do anything wrong again. Sometimes people were afraid of Saint Benedict-Joseph because he wore rags, lived outside, and didn’t talk very much. After he died, people realized that he was a very holy man.
Saint Benedict-Joseph was devoted to the Blessed Sacrament. He made pilgrimages to major shrines in Europe and came to live in Rome. He lived near the Colosseum there and became well known for his saintly life. Saint Benedict-Joseph is the patron of bachelors, the mentally ill, and the homeless.
Discuss: How can you try harder to follow God’s laws?
Explain to the child that Saint Benedict-Joseph Labré appeared to be frightening, when he was really very holy. Unfair judgments were made about him.