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Lives of the Saints:

How They Changed the World

Saint Bruno of Segni (d. 1123)

Saint Bruno of Segni (d. 1123)

Patron saint of Segni, Italy

Feast day: September 5




Saint Bruno joined the Benedictines when he was a young man. He was appointed bishop of Segni by Pope Saint Gregory VII. Saint Bruno was a great defender of Church doctrine and ardently fought against simony and lay investiture. However, Bruno shows us that nobody is perfect, not even a saint. He made the mistake of stating that a priest who committed simony (the buying or selling of a Church office) could not validly perform the Sacraments. Bruno was of course wrong, because even though simony is a serious offense, it does not undo a priest’s ordination. The sacraments do not depend on the holiness of the person who dispenses them. (The word simony derives from the name Simon Magus, who, as noted in the Acts of the Apostles, offered money for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. See Acts of the Apostles 8:9-24.)  Bruno wished to return to life as a monk but was called back to his diocese to serve the Lord by continuing to minister to the needs of his people. He was also appointed Vatican librarian and cardinal legate. His work on the Holy Eucharist was used by theologians and students of theology for centuries. (Image in public domain-70)