Bertrand was only about thirty-five years old when he died, but he had lived a full, active, devout, missionary life alongside and in the newly-founded order of his good friend St. Dominic.
Born around 1195 in or near Garrigue in the diocese of Nimes in southern France, Bertrand lived a holy life, praying and practicing virtue constantly even as a young person. Ordained a secular (diocesan) priest at a very early age, he joined the missionaries under the direction of the Cistercian Fathers, delegated by the Holy See, to bring the Albigenses back to the ways of civilized life and to the Church. The Albigenses were notorious for having no respect for authority or life, and for desecrating churches and convents.
Saint Dominic and Blessed Bertrand met as missionaries and became very close friends, praying and fasting together, offering sufferings for the good of others. They traveled together frequently, united in missionary spirit and companionship. Bertrand witnessed and testified to the holiness of St. Dominic, and to miracles attributed to him.
Bertrand was only about twenty-one when he accepted the habit of the Order of St. Dominic in 1216 at Toulouse. He was a founding member of the order, and his advice and prayers helped to establish the Order of Preachers, the Dominicans, also known as the Friars Preacher. He was appointed by St. Dominic as the third prior of the order, in the Church of St. Romanus, when St. Dominic traveled to the Vatican to receive final approbation of the order.
Bertrand practiced an austere life, and many miracles were attributed to his intercession, during his life and after he died. He died while giving a series of sermons in 1230 at the convent of the Cistercian Sisters of Notre Dame of the Woods (“du Bosquet”). September 6 is his feast day.
Other Saints We Remember Today
St. Eleutherius (585), Religious