St. Benedict Joseph Labre
St. Benedict Joseph Labre was born in 1748 in the north of France. He was the eldest of 15 children. At the age of 16 Benedict desired to become a trappist monk, but his parents instructed him to wait until he was older. At 18, Benedict set off for La Trappe Abbey to apply for the order but did not make their requirements, he as too young ,frail, and had no special recommendations. He attempted to join several orders and each order rejected him. Benedict had a desire to “ abandon his country, his parents, and whatever is flattering in the world, to lead a new sort of life, a life most painful, most penitential, not in a wilderness, nor in a cloister, but in the midst of the world, devoutly visiting as a pilgrim the famous places of christian devotion.”
Eventually, Benedict joined the Third Order of Saint Francis and settled on his life of poverty. He traveled all across Europe, always on foot, sleeping out in the open or in a corner with his ragged muddy clothing.
When Benedict would enter into deep prayer, while contemplating the crown of thorns, he was said to levitate or bilocate. He was also known to heal other ill homeless people and multiply food for them.
He died of malnutrition on April 16, 1783, during Holy Week.
He is the patron of unmarried men,mental illness, beggars and the homeless.