Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

Searching for God's Will

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Meinrad -builds -a -hermitage
St. Meinrad builds a hermitage.

Returning thanks for this promise, Meinrad walked back to his cell, whence he had set out, and there he begged God continually with fasting and prayer to deign to establish in his soul His Divine Will about this matter. And at length, strengthened with divine inspiration, Meinrad left the cell and the school he had presided over, and visited the woman again, for he wanted to find out whether or not she was willing to persist in her promise.

When he saw that she had remained constant in the offer of the promised aid to him, he built a hut for himself in a lonely place [on Mount Etzel], not far from the village where the woman lived.[7] And there Meinrad served the Creator unceasingly with fasts and prayers; and the woman and other pious folk provided him with the necessities of life.

For seven years Meinrad served the heavenly King there; but since he was not strong enough to bear the multitude of people who came to him, he moved and found a patch of level ground among the mountains, very difficult to reach, four miles from the lakeshore. There, with the help of pious folk and especially a certain abbess by the name of Helwiga, he built a cabin, the bare necessity for his vow, and he remained in that place for the rest of his life.[8]

He mortified himself with the greatest fasts, as much as human frailty allowed, and prayed without ceasing. He gave out as alms to his visitors all those things which faithful men and women used to send him.

One day while he was praying, it happened that a great host of demons surrounded him from every side, and the servants of darkness so overshadowed him that he could no longer see even the light of day. With terrible threats and the greatest dread, they exhausted him. Prostrate in prayer, as the situation then required, he commended himself with every desire to the holy Lord. Things went on in this way for a long time.

Then, he saw a light from the east. Following this light, an angel came to him where he was lying prostrate in prayer in the midst of the evil spirits; and with great authority, the angel ordered the impious array to depart and to dare not inflict further temptation or terror on Meinrad. After the host left, the angel consoled Meinrad, as one friend another, and departed. And so from that day on, as the venerable man himself used to say, he suffered no further terror from evil spirits.

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