Bernard of Mentone (or of Aosta) St
Bernard of Mentone (or of Aosta) St.
was born in 923, near Annecy. He is memorable as the founder of two establishments of Hospitallers, where for more than nine hundred years travelers have found an asylum against the perils of the Alps. He was archdeacon of Aosta, and grand-vicar of the diocese. In his journeys he had opportunities of seeing the sufferings to which the pilgrims were exposed in crossing the Alps, and he conceived the project of establishing two hospitals. one on Mount Joux (Mons Jovis), the other in a pass in the Greek Alps, called Colona Jou, on account of a pile of stones raised on the spot to point out the road to travelers. Upon these summits he raised the two hospitals known as the Great and Little St. Bernard, which he confided to the regular canons of St. Augustine, who, from that time down to the present, have continued to fulfill with a zeal and charity beyond all praise the merciful intentions of the founder. The chief monastery is on the Great St. Bernard, which is supposed to be the highest dwelling in Europe, and there, amid perpetual snows, the monks exercise their hospitable labors. Bernard died at Novara May 28, 1008. His festival is celebrated on June 15, the day of his interment. His life is given in the Acta Sanctorum, June 15. — Landon, Eccl. Dict. 2, 189; Butler, Lives of Saints, June 15.