St. Guibert

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Continuing the series on monastic saints, compiled by Jason John Edwards, Obl.S.B.

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Saint Guibert (892 – 23 May 962) is the founder of Gembloux Abbey, in Gembloux (Namur, Belgium). He was canonized in 1211. Saint Guibert’s Day is observed on 23 May.

An aristocrat from Lotharingia who had participated in several military campaigns, Guibert withdrew as a hermit on family property in Gembloux (formerly Gemblours) inherited from his father. In 936, with the support of Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor, he founded a fortified and almost independent monastery (having its own currency). After his stay at Gorze Abbey in Lorraine, he came back with the Rule of Saint Benedict for his monastery of Gembloux and he established a monk of Gorze, Erluin, as the first abbot. The abbots were active in missionary work among the Hungarians and Slavs who stayed behind in the Duchy of Brabant after the invasion of 954. As for Guibert, he retired to Gorze, but, although longing for the solitariness of the monastic life, he often had to come back to Gembloux to defend the interests and the rights of his foundation (particularly against the count of Namur).

When Guibert died, in 962, the monks of Gembloux came to take back the corpse of their founder from the Abbey of Gorze. After burying the entrails of Guibert at the Abbey of Gorze, they treated the corpse with salt and herbs to prevent its decomposition during transportation to the Abbey of Gembloux.

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