Gerard of Sauve-Majeure, St.

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Benedictine abbot; b. near Corbie, France, c. 1025;d. April 5, 1095. Having been a child oblate of corbie abbey, he was cellarer there by 1050. Shortly thereafter he accompanied Abbot Fulk on a pilgrimage to Monte Cassino and Rome, where both were ordained by Pope leo ix. Disturbed by bad health, he was cured through the intercession of St. adalard, a former abbot, to whom he fostered devotion and whose biography he directed. After a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1073, he was called by the monks of Saint-Vincent, Laon, to succeed his recently deceased brother, Raynier, as form abbot. (Some would also identify Gerard with the "Abbot Gerald" of Saint-Médard, Soissons, who lived about this time.) After five years of futile effort to reestablish regular observance at SaintVincent, Gerard and two monks from the abbey joined a hermit and his party of five knights, who had originally come to Gerard for advice about a new foundation. On a pilgrimage to Tours the group encountered William VIII, duke of Aquitaine and count of Poitou, who offered them a choice of land for an abbey. On Oct. 28, 1079, they took possession of a forested area, SauveMajeure (Silva Major ), or GrandeSauve, just east of Bordeaux, and construction began on May 11, 1081. The foundation, free from all lay feudal control and directly under the Holy See, prospered immediately under Gerard's guidance. A priory at Sémoy near Orléans was begun in 1081, and an abbey at Broqueroie, Hainaut, Belgium, in 1082. Gerard's cult began almost immediately after his death, and he was canonized by celestine iii on April 27, 1197.

Feast: April 5; June 21 (Poitou).

Bibliography: Acta Sanctorum April 1:407431. j. mabillon, Annales Ordinis S. Benedicti, 6 v. (2d ed. Lucca 173945) 4:469; 5:100101, 151153. abbÉ cirot de la ville, Histoire de l'abbaye de La Grande-Sauve, 2 v. (Paris 184445) v.1. r. gazeau, Catholicisme 4:186970. Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores 15.2:859865.

[w. e. wilkie]