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Herman the Cripple

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Herman the Cripple, also known as Herman the Lame and Herman of Reichenau, (1013-1054). He is a Blessed of the Roman Catholic Church. [Reference needed] The Church acknowledges that he lived a life of heroic virtue worthy of imitation and that it is an article of Catholic faith that he now lives forever with God in heaven and can therefore intercede on behalf of the faithful still living on Earth. He was a Benedictine monk who wrote poetry, hymns and scholarly treatises. He also made musical and astronomical instruments. In Latin, he is referred to as Hermanus Contractus.


Herman was born in 1013 with a cleft palate, cerebral palsy and spina bifida.[1] [None of the sources cited just the specific diagnosis of spina bifida]. As a result he had great difficulty moving and could hardly speak. At the age of seven he was placed in a Benedictine monastery by his parents who could no longer look after him. He grew up in the monastery, learning from the monks and developing a keen interest in both theology and the world around him.


At the age of twenty Herman was professed as a Benedictine monk; he spent the rest of his life in the monastery.[2] He was literate in several languages, including Arabic, Greek and Latin[3] and wrote about mathematics, astronomy and Christianity. He built musical and astronomical instruments and was also a famed religious poet. [None of the references justify the claim that he could read Arabic. There were few Arabic speaking scholars in Europe at this time, and Herman could not have learned by traveling scholars]. When he went blind in later life he began writing hymns. His best known is Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen).

Herman died at the age of forty in the monastery in 1054. The Church beatified him in 1863.


  1. Catholic Fire: Saint of the Day: Blessed Herman the Cripple, Monk (1013 - 1054)
  2. Bl. Herman the Cripple - Catholic Online
  3. Patron Saints Index: Blessed Herman the Cripple

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