Blessed Herman †1054

Another profile of a pre-schism western Saint who is counted among the intercessors for those with disabilities is Blessed Herman the Disabled.

Here is a poem about him, by William Hart Hurlbut, M.D.:

I am least among the low,
I am weak and I am slow;
I can neither walk nor stand,
Nor hold a spoon in my own hand.

Like a body bound in chain,
I am on a rack of pain,
But He is God who made me so,
that His mercy I should know.

Brothers do not weep for me!
Christ, the Lord, has set me free.
All my sorrows he will bless;
Pain is not unhappiness.

From my window I look down
To the streets of yonder town,
Where the people come and go,
Reap the harvest that they sow.

Like a field of wheat and tares,
Some are lost in worldly cares;
There are hearts as black as coal,
There are cripples of the soul.

Brothers do not weep for me!
In his mercy I am free.
I can neither sow nor spin,
Yet, I am fed and clothed in Him.

I have been the donkey’s tail,
Slower than a slug or snail;
You my brothers have been kind,
Never let me lag behind.

I have been most rich in friends,
You have been my feet and hands;
All the good that I could do,
I have done because of you.

Oh my brothers, can’t you see?
You have been as Christ for me.
And in my need I know I, too,
Have become as Christ for you!

I have lived for forty years
In this wilderness of tears;
But these trials can’t compare
With the glory we will share.

I have had a voice to sing,
To rejoice in everything;
Now Love’s sweet eternal song
Breaks the darkness with the dawn.

Brother’s do not weep for me!
Christ, the Lord, has set me free.
Oh my friends, remember this:
Pain is not unhappiness.

discovered in  Father Benedict J Groeschel book, Stumbling Blocks or Stepping Stones, by the producers of the weblog Unborn Word of the Day: http://unbornwordoftheday.com/2007/10/02/blessed-herman-a-poem/

 “Blessed Herman: (died 1054). Apparently afflicted with cleft palate, spina bifida, and cerebral palsy, Herman was born in Swabia, into the house of Althausen. Shocked that their son was nearly helpless due to the huge number of physical disabilities that were obvious at his birth, his parents gave him into the care of the abbey of Reichenau where he lived for forty years.  Becoming a monk himself, Herman used his brilliant mind to write a long, unfinished poem of deadly sins and a mathematical-astronomical treatise as well as two well known anthems to Our Lady, “Alma Redemptoris Mater” and “Salve Regina.”
from the website
  http://www.penitents.org/prolifeprayer.html#Patron_Saints_of_Children_with_Disabilities
See also http://catholicexchange.com/2009/09/25/97066/ & http://www.irondequoitcatholic.org/index.php/Bl/HermannTheDisabled & http://unbornwordoftheday.com/2007/09/24/another-pro-life-saint-good-we-need-him/

And here are profiles of the two famous western hymns he wrote:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salve_Regina & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alma_Redemptoris_Mater (by Blessed Herman)

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6 Responses to “Blessed Herman †1054”


  1. 1 Kentigern Sammons May 19, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Do we know if the Orthodox consider him a Saint?

    • 2 armsopenwide May 19, 2011 at 3:32 pm

      Well, I’m applying a generous standard. If an intercessor for a disability who has lived his life before the schism is counted as a Saint or called “Blessed” (which I believe signifies an honor a step down from being called “Saint” in the Orthodox Church) in the Roman Church and the West I have been featuring them. Being counted a Saint follows a less formal procedure in the Orthodox Church than in the Roman Catholic Church. There are Orthodox Jurisdictions which proclaim a person a Saint locally. There was a Pope Cornelius (3rd Century) that I have stepped back from including because there are no Orthodox sites that speak of him as such. Many of these from the west that I have included are spoken of in western sites, and the ones that aren’t are such that they wouldn’t be such as initiating promoters of the filoque. Perhaps some would hold to Papal supremacy as defined in the West, but unless they were know for promoting it I let this matter pass. We Orthodox don’t really want to judge people, and as St. Paul says in 1 Cor. 13 “believe all things” (i.e.,believe the best about people) and this guides my thinking. If I’m called to account by my bishop or any Orthodox bishop or priest I will submit to the correction.
      When I went through catechism class, we would speak of intercession broadly; if we would ask a beloved departed relative to intecede for us, this would be fine as well, it was said, by my priest. And so I am taking these Western Saints designated as intercessors for persons with disability and sharing them with those who are themselves disabled or have a loved one or friend or fellow parishioner who is. My sharing of them does not define their status in the Orthodox Church. I am but a reader in the Church. So that’s where I’m coming from.

  2. 3 armsopenwide May 19, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    “Spoken of in Eastern Orthodox sites” (correction)

  3. 4 Kentigern Sammons May 19, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    I like your “loose” rendering, Reader. Thanks. I was wondering because, although Blessed Herman is pre-schism, he wasn’t “Beautified” by the Roman Church till years later.

    Just wondering, since he was on this site, if somone knew for certain (whatever that may mean).

    Thanks for the info.

    Mungo

  4. 5 armsopenwide July 2, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    Our Antiochian Orthodox Christian 2011 Eastern Regional Parish Life Conference is taking place this weekend. I was there Friday as a member of my Parish’ Adult Bible Bowl team. (There are teen teams as well.)

    Before this competition, my wife and I went to Vespers. The Parish that is sponsoring the conference is a Western Rite Antiochian Church. Twenty-Four North American Antiochian Parishes (4 in our Eastern Region) have chosen to use Western Rite rather than Byzantine Rite (the Divine Liturgies of St. John Chrysostom and St. Basil the Great). Western Rite has been an option in the North American Antiochian Church for 50 years now (his Eminence Metropolitan Philip himself explained this after the service). And so it was a Western Rite Vespers.

    At the end, Salva Regina, written by Blessed Herman, was chanted by the choir. And so if his works are utilized in our services, and “Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi” (the rule of prayer is the rule of faith) is our guiding principle, there is a substantial basis for including Blessed Herman as an intercessor for Orthodox Christians.

  5. 6 armsopenwide July 2, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    And even Eastern Rite Orthodox Churches use the Pre-Sanctified Liturgy written by Pope Gregory the Great regularly during Great Lent. Another East-West connection.


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