A nobleman by his birth, which occurred about 895, Gerard was brought up in a military atmosphere and assigned to the household of Berengarius, the ruling Count of Namur, Belgium. However, amid the countless privileges, pleasures, and pursuits of his noble way of life, Gerard felt called to the religious life—but not in the lay monasteries of his milieu. While on an important mission on behalf of his sovereign to the court of France in 918 he caught a glimpse of the life led by monks of St. Denis and was greatly attracted to it. After settling all his temporal affairs, he returned to the monastery and became a member with wholehearted joy.
In time, St. Gerard was ordained, though only after wrestling with his sense of total inadequacy, and he helped reform the monastery. After eleven years he was sent by his Abbot to found a monastery on his estate at Brogne, so that his countrymen who desired to be monks might have a place to go to. As its Abbot, Gerard formed a well-nigh model monastery, and its fame spread far and wide. Duke Gislebert of Lorraine saw his work and commissioned him to reform the Abbey of St. Ghislain near Mons, where the holy monk established the Rule of St. Benedict. And herein he discovered his true vocation.
Over the course of the nest twenty years, St. Gerard labored zealously in this work, restoring Benedictine rule and discipline in some eighteen monasteries, as far as Flanders, Lorraine, and Champagne. Finally, advanced in age and slowed down by his extensive labors for God, he retired to Brogne and passed his last few years in solitude and prayer, before being born to his heavenly life on October 3, 959.
PRAYER: Lord, amid the things of this world, let us be wholeheartedly committed to heavenly things in imitation of the example of evangelical perfection that You have given us in St. Gerard the Abbot. Amen.