Memorial of St. Hermann-Joseph of Steinfeld, O. Praem.
(c. 1150, † April 4, 1241)
- Christ Child holding an apple = Apparition of the Virgin and Child
- Lilies = Purity
- Books of his writings
Hermann was born at Cologne around 1150. From his earliest childhood, he manifested a tender devotion to the Blessed Virgin. His Vita recounts that he prayed daily in the church of St. Mary in Cologne. One day he offered an apple before the statue of the Virgin and Child, she bent down so the Christ Child could reach it.
Hermann was about 12 years old when he entered the Norbertine abbey of Steinfeld in Germany. He was sent to the abbey of Mariëngaarde for studies. As a young man he liked to practice strict penance. After his return to Steinfeld and his priestly ordination, he was appointed to serve in the abbey sacristy and refectory. In these manual labors he developed an extraordinary spiritual life and received numerous mystical gifts. He received the surname “Joseph” on account of a vision in which the Blessed Virgin accepted him as her betrothed. His childlike piety and frequent ecstasies caused misunderstanding on the part of his confreres. Hermann-Joseph was a model religious—humble and poor, patient and friendly to everyone. He was a model of obedience and always ready to serve his confreres.
Hermann-Joseph wrote several hymns in honor of the Blessed Mother, St. Ursula, and her Companions, and a commentary on the “Song of Songs.” He was one of the first to expressly honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus in a genuinely mystical way.
Hermann-Joseph was appointed spiritual director to the Cistercian nuns in Hoven. He was at their monastery during the final Lent of his life, where he fell gravely ill and died on the Thursday after Easter, April 4, 1241.
Veneration began immediately after his death with numerous miracles were reported at his tomb. On January 22, 1728, Pope Benedict XIII permitted his veneration. His cult was formally recognized when Pope Pius XII canonized him on August 11, 1958. St. Hermann-Joseph is venerated in the Rhine region and in the Norbertine Order as Patron of children and of students.
Date(s) - Friday May 24, 2019