St. Bernward

St. Bernward

Born into a Saxon household, Bernward was raised by his uncle, Bishop Volkmar of Utrecht, after becoming an orphan. Athelbero, Count Palatine of Saxony, was his grandfather. To help with Bernward's education, his uncle engaged the aid of Thangmar, the devout and intelligent director of Heidelberg's cathedral school.

Bernward advanced quickly in both the sciences and Christian piety while learning from Thangmar. He excelled in the fields of mathematics, painting, and architecture, but especially in the production of gold and silver ornaments and vessels for use in churches.

Following his academic completion in Mainz, Saint Bernward was ordained a priest there in 987. Rather than be assigned to his uncle Bishop Volkmar's diocese, he opted to stay close to his grandfather Athelbero in order to provide him with support as he aged. After his grandfather died, he became an imperial court chaplain, and the Empress-Regent Theophano promptly chose him as teacher to her son Otto III, who was only six years old at the time. In 993, he was chosen to serve as Hildesheim's thirteenth bishop. He constructed St. Michael's cathedral and monastery there and did a competent job of leading his See.

A man of remarkable piety, he was generous in using his artistic talent and knowledge for the benefit of the Church. He was also very committed to prayer and the practice of mortification.
Later in life, he became a Benedictine, and on November 20, 1022, he passed away. Pope Celestine III canonized him in 1193. His feast day is celebrated on November 20th.

Other Saints of the Day
Saint Eudo
Saint Felix of Valois
Saint Nerses
Saint Ampelus
Saint Solutor

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