Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

Life of St. Meinrad

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St. Meinrad image from a mural in Memorial Lobby.

St. Meinrad image from a mural in Memorial Lobby.

The Life of Venerable Meinrad, the Hermit

Note: The following text is from the Latin account of the life of the martyr Meinrad, who is known as the patron saint of hospitality, and was probably written in the 10th century by a monk of Reichenau Abbey. The English translation was completed by the monks of Saint Meinrad Archabbey.[1]

Before I tell the story of the passion and death of the venerable man Meinrad, it will be good as a kind of foretaste to write briefly of when he was born, whence he came and where he went, where or rather to whom he was first sent to learn to read and write, under what abbot he took upon himself the keeping of the monastic life and, how also, from battle in common with his brothers, he entered into the single contest of the desert. Then I will go back to the things I propose to deal with more fully.

Meinrad -goes -to -live -in -a -monastery
St. Meinrad goes to live in a monastery.

In the time of Charles, most glorious emperor of the Franks and the first among them to receive the name of Caesar, Meinrad was born in Alamannia, in the country which of old was called Sulchgau after the village of Sulchen.[2] His parents were Alamanni and were noted more for the nobility of their lives than for their familiarity with riches.

When at length he had reached the age when he might suitably learn to read and write, his father took him to the island which old people called Sindlazaugia, from the name of a certain priest called Sindlaz. Sindlaz was the first to build lodgings for monks on the island. At the command of the most noble Peratold of the Alamanni, he persuaded St. Pirmin with his companions to live there, in the time of Pippin, king of the Franks, and named the island for himself. [3]

It was here, then, that the boy Meinrad was led by his father, and put in the care of a man in all things most honorable, the monk Erlebald, who was as well related to Meinrad by marriage. When he saw that the child was of good character, Erlebald willingly accepted the task of rearing him.

  His Early Education >


  • 1 Translated from the "Vita S. Meginrati," edited by O. Holder-Egger, Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores v. 15, pt. 1, pp. 444-448. Further notes are from this edition. Holder-Egger supposes the author is a monk of Reichenau, writing not long after the beginning of the 10th century, and thinks its attribution to Abbot Berno of Reichanau (1008-1048) by Chr. Hartmann (whom Mabillon follows in this) without foundation. Return to text.
  • 2 In the text: Sulichkewe and Sulich. Sulchgau is the site of modern Rottenburg. Return to text.
  • 3 Rather, in the time of Charles Martel, it would seem, about 724. Return to text.