St. Benedict Joseph Labre

April 16

1748- 83

 Born at Amettes, France, on March 25, the eldest of eighteen children, he studied under his uncle, the parish priest at Erin, was unsuccessful in attempts to join the Trappists, Carthusians, and Cistercians, and in 1770 made pigrimages to many of the major shrines in Europe. In 1774, he stayed in Rome, lived in the Colosseum, and became known as "the beggar of Rome" for his poverty and sanctity. He was noted for his attendance at and devotion to Forty Hours' devotion, and died in Rome on April 16, and was canonized in 1883.

This is the account of his visit to St. John Vianney's grandfather:

All the biographers of Jean-Marie Vianney have written abut a famous mendicant who paid a mysterious visit to the Saint's grandfather, a farmer. For those who are not familiar with the story, we will pause now and speak of him.

The scandal of his age [which could only be horrified at him and not a little shocked], this unusual man had come from Artois to the Trappist monastery of Sept-Fonds in order that he might, in that hard place, lead the hardest possible life. His health broke down and he became a pilgrim with the open sky his roof. Like Saint Alexis before him, Benedict Joseph was "the poor man" par excellence, flung aside, jeered at, even beaten;  on occasion he was kindly welcomed which was more than he bestowed on himself. He fasted thrice weekly, bore up with the heat and cold,  the vermin, praying all the while and never spoke. He would reply with a nod with the greatest of amicability. He visited all the famous shrines---Rome, Loretto, Compostella---spending  half his life tramping, the other half on his knees. He died at the age of thirty-five, due to sheer poverty. It was as though the sorrowing Christ walked this refined but irreligious world, to warn it of the gulf into which it was soon to fall.

On his way to Rome he presented himself, in 1770, at the house of Pierre Vianney where he was given warmth, food, and a bed. The Vianneys realized that he was a Saint, so he was asked to blessed the children, among them little Mathieu, who was to be the father of Jean-Marie.

Was it merely by chance that he knocked at that door? By chance that sixteen years later Pierre Vianney's grandson received the names of the Baptist, the beloved Evangelist and the Mother of God? Providence does nothing without sound reason and as is often said, there is no coincidence with God. A name given at Baptism is likewise a protection, or better still, a protector, appointed by Providence, so that saints are always the spiritual offspring of other Saints, living or dead, who come to the aid of their natural family.