Blessed Waldo

Adapted from the Franciscan Book of Saints; Marion A. Habig OFM

As a young man, Waldo became a student of the very saintly priest Father Bartolo, who inspired him to join the Third Order Franciscans. After Fr Bartolo fell ill with leprosy, Waldo accompanied him to the hospital and cared for him for the next twenty years. After Fr Bartolo died in 1300 Waldo decided to withdraw from the world and from all people in order to converse only with God and live for heaven alone. He retreated to a large forest several miles away from his home town. There he came across a large hollow chestnut tree. The hollowed tree was just big enough for Waldo to enter inside and kneel. Waldo spent the remaining twenty years of his life in complete isolation living as a hermit inside the tree. There he occupied his time with the contemplation of heavenly things, and performed severe penances.

Then in May 1320, the bells of the nearby town miraculously began to ring of their own accord. The amazed townspeople ran to the church where the bells continued to ring, although no human hand was setting them in motion. Shortly after, a hunter in the forest found Waldo dead inside the tree, kneeling as if he was in prayer. The hunter returned to town and announced the death of Waldo. As soon as he had finished speaking the bells ceased ringing.

The residents of the town recognized in this incident the holiness of the deceased hermit. In procession they went to the tree of Blessed Waldo, and brought his body to the church, where it was laid to rest beneath the high altar. God glorified the tomb with many miracles. The cell in the tree was converted into a chapel in honour of our Lady, in connection with which a Franciscan convent was later built.

Blessed Waldo, pray for us.


Image: Wikimedia Commons


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