Blessed Hermann is known by various names. He is called as, Herman the Cripple monk, or Hermann the Disabled monk, or Hermannus Contractus (as his whole body was contracted) or Hermannus Augiensis.
In some places, Herman’s name is spelt with two ‘n’s and also known as ‘Hermann of Reichenau’.
I did not know about this saint, until I researched the ‘Hail Holy Queen’ prayer.
Blessed Herman was the author of the Hail Holy Queen Prayer and the Alma Redemtoris Mater. His love for our Heavenly Mother is shown through the words in these wonderful anthems to Mary.
Hermann’s life was just amazing that I thought it would be valuable for many people. Specially those who feel depressed due to physical disabilities.
In his time, people called Hermann 'the cripple monk', and he was known as the monk who made the best of his life and did not limit himself due to his crippled body.
Herman the Cripple monk lived in the 11th-century (1013 –1054) in Southern Germany.
Herman was born to a Nobel family, the Duke of Altshausen in Germany. Due to the many deformities that he was born with; a cleft palate, cerebral palsy, and spina bifida, his parents looked after him until the age of seven. He was then given to an Abbey of Reichenau and cared by the Benedictine monks.
Although he was crippled and could not walk or talk properly (due to his cleft palate), Herman was a genius. He studied astronomy, theology, math, history, poetry, Arabic, Greek, and Latin. He built astronomical equipment and musical instruments and was the most famous religious poet of his day.
At the age of twenty, Hermann of Reichenau took his vows as a Benedictine monk.
When he was born, the doctors had informed Hermann’s parents that their child would not live for more than five years. But Hermann lived for forty one years.
At the latter part of his life, Hermann became blind and began writing hymns. The ‘Salve Regina’ or the ‘Hail Holy Queen’ prayer is a legacy that Hermann left for us.
Hermann the crippled monk died at the age of forty one in 1054. He was beatified in 1863. His feast is on the 25th of September.
Candy’s Reflection on Blessed Herman’s Life
Although Hermann’s body was a wreck, his spirit was full of Love for God. Although he might have been in a lot of pain (where he calls himself ‘banished children of Eve’ in the Hail Holy Queen Prayer), he found it a way to get closer to God, and he made the best use of his intelligence to contribute to the world. On the contrary, how many of us today with all our limbs and opportunities in life commit suicide or go into a state of depression?
Today most babies are medically terminated if they are detected for problems such as cerebral palsy or spina bifida. Pregnant mothers are asked to take a test very early in their pregnancy for detection of such problems, so they can abort these babies, in order to avoid the baby being a problem to the family or country economy.
Most parents are informed that such babies will die within the first 5 years. Wonder how many geniuses the world has lost due to the huge number of medical abortions.
Blessed Hermann is therefore, listed as a ‘Saint for the Unborn Child’.
In most communities and countries, the disabled or crippled are seen as a burden to the country economy. But, Herman was a 11th century scholar, composer, music theorist, mathematician, and astronomer. He was called ‘The Wonder of His Age’. This is the very reason that Blessed Hermann is known to be a ‘Saint for the Disabled’.
A poem written by William Hart Hurlbut, M.D. says much about Herman’s character.
Explore another Prayer for Children with special needs.