On 26 October the calendar of our Order commemorates St. Gilbert († 1152). Gilbert was a crusader knight who had survived the Second Crusade and upon his return to Europe resolved to consecrate his life to the service of God. He immediately distributed much of his personal wealth to the poor and needy and thence financed the construction of an abbey for Norbertine nuns. His wife Petronilla and his daughter Pontia both entered this abbey and Gilbert himself entered the Order at our abbey of Dilo. He later built the abbey of Neuffontaines in 1150 and became its first abbot, overseeing the construction of an infirmary that became famed for the miracles wrought there. Gilbert personally ministered to the sick who came to abbey for physical and spiritual healing and as a sign of his humility was buried in the part of the abbey cemetery reserved for the sick who died there. When his cult grew, his body was moved into the abbey and today’s feast marks the translation of his relics. Neuffontaintes abbey was suppressed in 1790, following the Revolution, and his relics translated to a parish church for safekeeping. They were never found again.
God, who called Your abbot St. Gilbert away from the riches of the world, so that he might enter into the way of poverty, grant, we beseech You, that entering into the way of humility, we may strive to serve our brothers. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.
St. Gilbert, pray for us!