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Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume VII: July. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.

July 18

St. Bruno, Bishop of Segni, Confessor

HE was of the illustrious family of the lords of Asti in Piemont, and born near that city. From his cradle he considered that man’s happiness is only to be found in loving God: and to please him in all his actions was his only and his most ardent desire. He made his studies in the monastery of St. Perpetuus, in the diocess of Asti. Bosch proves that he never was canon of Asti, but enjoyed some years a canonry at Sienna, as he himself informs us. In the Roman council in 1079, he defended the doctrine of the Catholic Church concerning the blessed eucharist against Berengarius; and Pope Gregory VII. nominated him bishop of Segni in the ecclesiastical state in 1081. Bruno, who had been compelled to submit, after a long and strenuous resistance, served his flock, and on many important occasions the universal church with unwearied zeal. Gregory VII. who died in 1085, Victor III. formerly abbot of mount Cassino, who died in 1087, and Urban II. who had been scholar to St. Bruno (afterwards institutor of the Carthusians) at Rheims, then a monk at Cluni, and afterwards bishop of Ostia, had the greatest esteem for our saint. He attended Urban II. into France in 1095, and assisted at the council of Tours in 1096. After his return into Italy he continued to labour for the sanctification of his soul and that of his flock, till not being able any longer to resist his inclination for solitude and retirement, he withdrew to mount Cassino, and put on the monastic habit. The people of Segni demanded him back; but Oderisus, abbot of mount Cassino, and several cardinals, whose mediation the saint employed, prevailed upon the pope to allow his retreat. The abbot Oderisus was succeeded by Otho in 1105, and this latter dying in 1107, the monks chose bishop Bruno abbot. He was often employed by the pope in important commissions, and by his writings laboured to support ecclesiastical discipline 1 and to extirpate simony. This vice he looked upon as the source of all the disorders which excited the tears of all zealous pastors in the church, by filling the sanctuary with hirelings, whose worldly spirit raises an insuperable opposition to that of the gospel. What would this saint have said had he seen the collation of benefices, and the frequent translations of bishops in some parts, which serve to feed and inflame avarice and ambition in those in whom above all others, a perfect disengagement from earthly things and crucifixion of the passions ought to lay a foundation of the gospel temper and spirit? Paschal II. formerly a monk of Cluni, succeeded Urban II. in the pontificate in 1099. By his order St. Bruno having been abbot of mount Cassino about four years, returned to his bishopric, having resigned his abbacy, and left his abbatial crozier on the altar. He continued faithfully to discharge the episcopal functions to his death, which happened at Segni on the 31st of August in 1125. He was canonized by Lucius III. in 1183, and his feast is kept in Italy on the 18th of July. See his anonymous authentic life, and Leo of Ostia and Peter the deacon in their chronicle of mount Cassino, with the notes of Solier the Bollandist, t. 4, Julij. p. 471. Also Dom. Maur Marchesi, dean of mount Cassino, in his apparatus (prefixed to the works of this saint) printed at Venice in 1651; Mabillon, Annal. Bened. l. 70, Ceillier, t. 21, p. 101.  1
Note 1. The works of St. Bruno of Segni, or of Asti, with a preliminary dissertation of Dom Maur Marchesi, were printed at Venice in 1651, in two vols. folio, and in the Bibl. Patr. at Lyons in 1677, t. 20. They consist of comments on several parts of scripture, one hundred and forty-five sermons, several dogmatical treatises and letters; and a life of St. Leo IX. and another of St. Peter, bishop of Anagnia, whom Paschal II. canonized. This latter the Bollandists have published on the 3d of April. [back]