St. Meinrad image from a mural in Memorial Lobby.
The Life of Venerable Meinrad, the Hermit
Note: The following
text is from the Latin account of the life of the martyr Meinrad,
who is known as the patron saint of hospitality, and was probably
written in the 10th century by a monk of Reichenau Abbey. The
English translation was completed by the monks of Saint Meinrad
Before I tell the story of the passion and death of the
venerable man Meinrad, it will be good as a kind of foretaste to
write briefly of when he was born, whence he came and where he
went, where or rather to whom he was first sent to learn to read
and write, under what abbot he took upon himself the keeping of the
monastic life and, how also, from battle in common with his
brothers, he entered into the single contest of the desert. Then I
will go back to the things I propose to deal with more fully.
|St. Meinrad goes to live in a
In the time of Charles, most glorious emperor of the Franks and
the first among them to receive the name of Caesar, Meinrad was
born in Alamannia, in the country which of old was called Sulchgau
after the village of Sulchen. His parents were Alamanni and were
noted more for the nobility of their lives than for their
familiarity with riches.
When at length he had reached the age when he might suitably
learn to read and write, his father took him to the island which
old people called Sindlazaugia, from the name of a certain priest
called Sindlaz. Sindlaz was the first to build lodgings for monks
on the island. At the command of the most noble Peratold of the
Alamanni, he persuaded St. Pirmin with his companions to live
there, in the time of Pippin, king of the Franks, and named the
island for himself. 
It was here, then, that the boy Meinrad was led by his father,
and put in the care of a man in all things most honorable, the monk
Erlebald, who was as well related to Meinrad by marriage. When he
saw that the child was of good character, Erlebald willingly
accepted the task of rearing him.
- 1 Translated from the "Vita
S. Meginrati," edited by O. Holder-Egger, Monumenta Germaniae
Historica, Scriptores v. 15, pt. 1, pp. 444-448. Further notes
are from this edition. Holder-Egger supposes the author is a monk
of Reichenau, writing not long after the beginning of the 10th
century, and thinks its attribution to Abbot Berno of Reichanau
(1008-1048) by Chr. Hartmann (whom Mabillon follows in this)
without foundation. Return to text.
- 2 In the text: Sulichkewe and
Sulich. Sulchgau is the site of modern Rottenburg. Return to text.
- 3 Rather, in the time of
Charles Martel, it would seem, about 724. Return