"Let no one seek his own interests, but those of his neighbor."
St. Paul, I Cor. 10:24
Saint Gerard was born of a noble family towards the end of the ninth century, in the county of Namur in Belgium. An engaging sweetness of temper, added to a strong inclination to piety and devotion, gained for him from the cradle, the affection and esteem of all. He at first followed the career of arms, but never lost his piety amid the distractions and temptations of camp life. When sent on an important mission to the court of France by the Count of Namur, he was greatly edified by the fervor of the Benedictine monks of Saint Denys in Paris, and earnestly desired to consecrate himself to God with them. Returning home he settled his temporal affairs, and went back with great joy to the monastery of Saint Denys.
He lived for eleven years with great fervor in this monastery, and then was ordained a priest. In 931 he was sent by his French abbot to found an abbey upon his own estate at Brogne, three leagues from Namur. He established this new abbey, then built himself a little cell near the church, where he lived as a recluse until called to introduce strict monastic discipline in eighteen other abbeys, which he did successfully, assuming the duties of a Benedictine Abbot General. When he had spent almost twenty years in these zealous labors, he again retired to his cell at the Abbey of Brogne, which is now named for him, to prepare his soul for the final journey. To this he was called on October 3, 959.
Reflection: Though we are in the world, let us strive to separate ourselves from it and consecrate ourselves to God, remembering that the world passes away, but he who does the Will of God abides forever. (I John 2:17)
Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler's Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894); The Catholic Encyclopedia, edited by C. G. Herbermann with numerous collaborators (Appleton Company: New York, 1908).