Born at Garrigues in the Comtat Venaissin, France, in the latter part of the 12th century, Blessed Bertrand was educated by the Cistercian nuns and learned by first-hand experience of the dangers posed by the Albigensian heresy flourishing at the time. Accordingly, he became a priest and joined a Cistercian group that was laboring zealously in the Midi to counteract the evil effect by the heretics.
However, in 1208, the Cistercian legate was assassinated and the crusade of Simon de Montfort was let loose, leaving Bertrand without a peaceful means by which to keep combating the heresy. Shortly afterward, he met St. Dominic who was doing this very thing—combating the heresy by prayer, fasting, and preaching. In 1215, Bertrand was one of six preachers who formed the nucleus for the Order of Preachers begun by St. Dominic, and became one of his close companions.
Appointed Prior Provincial of Provence, one of the eight provinces of the Dominican Order, Bertrand spent the last nine years of his active life preaching the faith throughout southern France, and founded the great Priory of Marseille. After his death, about 1230, it was written that by his watching, fasting, and other penances, he succeded in imitating his beloved Father so closely as to invite the words: ”The disciple is like the master; there goes the image of St. Dominic!”
PRAYER: Almighty, eternal God, You dedicated the joy of this day to the glorification of Blessed Bertrand. Mercifully grant that we may always strive to retain and complete by our works that faith which he continually proclaimed. Amen.