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St. Heimrad (Haimerad)

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Death: ~1019

The son of poor parents, Heimrad, a priest from Mosskirch (near Baden, Germany), took up the life of a perpetual pilgrim, journeying to Rome, and visiting the sites of Calvary and the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Later, he stayed for a time at the German monastery of Hersfeld. Heimrad is considered an example of an unusual form of asceticism practiced by a few saints who sought to crush their pride and humble themselves by deliberately assuming eccentric manners, so as to be regarded as fools in the eyes of others. Heimrad eventually settled as a hermit on Mount Hasung (near Kassel, Germany), leading a very penitential and austere life there until his death in 1019. Heimrad's monastic biographer adds to his account an unrelated but touching anecdote about Hersfeld Abbey, where Heimrad had once stayed. In 1037, all of the monastery's buildings were destroyed by fire. But amid the ashes, the monks discovered their chapel's wax Paschal candle, completely intact and unmelted. For many years afterward, a portion of this miraculously preserved candle was added to each new Paschal candle for the Easter Vigil.


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