Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Premonstratensian monk and mystic; b. at Cologne about 1150; d. at Hoven, 7 April, 1241. According to the biography by Razo Bonvisinus, contemporary prior of Steinfeld (Acta SS., 7 April, I, 679), Hermann was the son of poor parents who had once been rich. At the age of seven he attended school and very early he began the tender devotion to the Blessed Virgin for which he was known during his entire life. At every available moment he could be found at the church of St. Mary on the Capitol, where he would kneel wrapt in prayer and child-like appeal to Mary. One day he is said to have presented an apple, saved from his own scanty repast, to the Child Who accepted it. According to still another legend, on another occasion, when on a bitter cold day he made his appearance with bare feet, Mary procured him the means of getting shoes. At the age of twelve he entered the monastery of the Norbertine or Premonstratensian Canons at Steinfeld, in the present Rhenish Prussia, made his studies in the Netherlands, and on his return was entrusted with the service of the refectory and later of the sacristy.

After he had been ordained priest, it was remarkable with what reverence and devotion he offered the Holy Sacrifice. He was known for his gentle demeanour and affability, his humility, his extraordinary mortifications, but, above all, for his affection for the Mother of God, before whose altar he remained for hours in pious intercourse and ecstatic visions , and in whose honour he composed wonderful prayers and hymns. Mary, in turn, showed him her predilection, called him her chaplain and her spouse, and confirmed his surname Joseph, given to him by his brothers in religion. Hermann was sometimes sent out to perform pastoral duties and was in frequent demand for the making and repairing of clocks. He had under his charge the spiritual welfare of the Cistercian nuns at Hoven near Zulpich. Here he died and was buried in the cloister. His body was later transferred to Steinfeld, where his marble tomb and large picture may be seen to the present day; portions of his relics are at Cologne and at Antwerp. He is represented in art as kneeling before a statue of the Virgin and Child and offering an apple. The process of his canonization was begun in 1626, at the request of Archbishop Ferdinand of Cologne and the Emperor Ferdinand II, but was interrupted. His feast was, however, celebrated on 7 April, and the name of Blessed Hermann is in the Premonstratensian supplement to the Roman Martyrology. They also celebrate the translation of his relics on 24 May. His works are: "A Commentary on the Canticle of Canticles ", which is lost; "Opuscula" (new edition, Namur, 1899), including: "Duodecim gratiarum actiones"; "Jubilus seu Hymnus de SS. undecim millibus Virginibus"; "Oratio ad Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum", taken to a great extent from the Canticle of Canticles ; "Alia Oratio"; "Precula de quinque Gaudiis B. Mariae V." It is not quite certain whether the last three are the works of Hermann, though they are generally ascribed to him.

[ Note: Hermann Joseph was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1958.]


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 2:12-22
12 do not forget, I say, that you were at that time ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14
9 His saving help is near for those who fear him, his ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:35-38
35 'See that you have your belts done up and your ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 21st, 2014 Image

St. Hilarion
October 21: Abbot and disciple of St. Anthony the Great, companion of St. ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter