Lives of the Saints: St Gregory VII, Pope

26 May

St Gregory VII, Pope

Hildebrand was born in Tuscany, Italy, and went to France where he embraced the monastic state in the renowned Abbey of Cluny. He was called back to Rome and soon gained a great reputation for learning and sanctity. He helped to carry out reforms of Leo IX and succeeded him in 1073, taking the name of Gregory VII. Continuing the reforms of St Leo, he worked especially to eradicate simony and the looseness of morals of the clergy, and to free the Church from the influence of temporal rulers.
Henry IV, the German Emperor, whom he had excommunicated for flagrantly denying the Church’s authority to invest Bishops, came to him at Canossa and stood barefoot in the snow to beg for a pardon which the Pope granted. However. this famous act of repentance was a sham; when Henry seized Rome in 1084, he set up an antipope and forced Gregory into exile at Salerno, where he died the folowing year–steadfast to the end. His last recorded words were: “I have loved justice and hated iniquity . . .; therefore, I die in exile.”

PRAYER Grant to Your Church, O Lord, the spirit of fortitude and zeal for justice with which You were pleased to let Pope St. Gregory shine forth. Renouncing iniquity, may she carry out a willing love whatever things are right. Amen


Revision of the Original Edition of Rev. Hugo Hoever, S.O Cist., Phd. Lives . . . of the Saints for every day of the year (Catholic Book Publishing Co, New York 1993-1955) p.209


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