Saint Benedict Joseph Labre is the patron saint of homeless people. He was born March 26, 1748, into a well-off middle class family with numerous opportunities. He was educated in his native village in France.
As the years went by he grew distaste for any form of knowledge which did not help him to grow closer to God. After experimenting with several rigorous ways of religious life, he reportedly had an internal illumination. He then believed that God was calling him to a life of devotion “not in a wilderness or cloister but in the midst of the world.”
He abandoned his materialistic upbringing and set forth on a pilgrimage in an old coat with a rosary around his neck and a rosary between his fingers. He lived a live of poverty, sleeping on the streets and eating simple meals from charity or taken from the garbage. Many hours of his life were spent in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
He collapsed on the steps of the church of Santa Maria dei Monti in Rome from the exhaustion of living for 13 years in absolute poverty; and died later that day on April 16, 1783 – also his feast day.
Saint Benedict Joseph Labre, you gave up honor, money, and home for love of Jesus. Help us to set our hearts on Jesus and not on the things of this world. You lived in obscurity among the poor in the streets. Enable us to see Jesus in our poor brothers and sisters and not judge by appearances. Make us realize that in helping them we are helping Jesus. Show us how to befriend them and not pass them by.
Saint Benedict Joseph Labre, you had a great love for prayer. Obtain for us the grace of persevering prayer, especially adoration of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
Saint Benedict Joseph Labre, poor in the eyes of men but rich in the eyes of God, pray for us. Amen
-The Labre Prayer