Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Short Cuts

Image of St. Benezet

Facts

Feastday: April 14

Patron Avignon; bachelors; bridge-builders

Birth: 1163

Death: 1184


Saint Benezet lived between 1163 and 1184, and is known primarily for being the founder of the tradition of the bridge building brotherhood. His icons frequently depict him as a shepherd boy carrying a stone.

According to legend, Benezet was a shepherd who experienced a vision while watching an eclipse of the sun. In his vision, he was instructed to build a bridge over the river Rhone at Avignon. Concerned about his flock, he was told that angels would provide watch while he worked. Thus assured, he started to build the bridge, working alone.

At first, the civil and religious authorities refused to help him.

Onlookers watched as the young shepherd boy carried a stone that was much too large for a man to lift. He placed the stone and proclaimed that it would become the foundation, to which onlookers declared his feat of strength to be a miracle. As he continued working on the project, additional miracles occurred including inexplicable healings of the deaf and blind and restorations of those crippled by disease to health.

The miracles convinced many that Benezetís work was ordered by God and they finally came to his aid, pledging funds and help. Thus, the first Bridge Brotherhood was formed.

Bridge brotherhoods would be among the most important developments of the medieval period with many forming across Europe. The brotherhoods were intended to be temporary and dedicated to building bridges in areas that needed them. Some people too vows while they worked on the projects, knights donated funds, and entire communities lent support in various forms. Several famous bridges were built by brotherhoods, including the bridge across the Rhone at Avignon.

These projects were important to the development of trade, which served as a precursor to the renaissance in Europe.

Benezet himself died in 1184, just 21 years old, two years before his bridge was completed. He was interred in the bridge in a tiny chapel dedicated to Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of mariners. His body remained there until a flood in 1669 washed out a portion of the bridge and his coffin along with it. His casket was recovered and opened, where it was found that his body was entirely uncorrupted.

Benezet was recognized as a saint in the 13th century.

He was reburied in the cathedral at Avignon and later the Celestine church of Saint Dider.

The bridge, of which the arches still stand, is a pilgrimage site even to this day.


St. Benezet Comments




More Saints





Browse Saints by Category


Popular Saints

Rank

Saint

59.

Image of St. Katharine Drexel

St. Katharine Drexel

Saint Katharine Drexel, Religious (Feast Day-March 3) Born in 1858, into a prominent Philadelphia family, Katharine became imbued with love for God and neighbor. She took an avid interest ... continue reading | shop

60.

Image of St. Barbara

St. Barbara

Barbara lived in the 4th century and brought up as a heathen. A tyrannical father, Dioscorus, had kept her jealously secluded in a lonely tower which he had built for that purpose. Here, in ... continue reading

61.

Image of St. Stephen

St. Stephen

Stephen's name means "crown," and he was the first disciple of Jesus to receive the martyr's crown. Stephen was a deacon in the early Christian Church. The apostles had found that ... continue reading

All Popular Saints

Saint of the Day

St. Marian

When St. Mamertinus was Abbot of the monastery which St. Germanus had founded at Auxerre, there came to him a young man called Marcian (also known as Marian), a fugitive from Bourges then occupied by ... continue reading

More Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day by E-Mail

Saint of the Day by E-Mail Newsletter Sign Up icon

Learn about the lives of the saints and other saint resources, including a calendar, over 5,000 saint biographies, our most popular saints, and a list of patron saints.7 days/week. See Sample


Female Saints

Image of St. Lucy

St. Lucy

Lucy's name means "light", with the same root as "lucid" which means "clear, radiant, understandable." Unfortunately for us, Lucy's history does not match her name. Shrouded in the darkness of time, all we really know for certain is that ... continue reading

More Female Saints



Saint Calendar
Saint Feast Days
Saint Fun Facts

Angels

Image of St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel - Feast day - September 29th The name Michael signifies "Who is like to God?" and was the warcry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against satan and his followers. Holy Scripture describes St. Michael as "one of the chief ... continue reading


Image of St. Gabriel, the Archangel

St. Gabriel, the Archangel

The name Gabriel means "man of God," or "God has shown himself mighty." It appears first in the prophesies of Daniel in the Old Testament. The angel announced to Daniel the prophecy of the seventy weeks. His name also occurs in the apocryphal book of Henoch. He was the ... continue reading



Saints Fun Facts

Saints Fun Facts for St. Artaldus

St. Artaldus

Artaldus (also called Arthaud) was born in the castle of Sothonod in Savoy. At the age of eighteen, he went to the court of Duke Amadeus III, but a year or two after, he became a Carthusian at ... continue reading

Saints Fun Facts for St. Lorenzo Ruiz

St. Lorenzo Ruiz

Lorenzo Ruiz is the first Filipino saint. He is also the first Filipino martyred for the Christian Faith. Lorenzo Ruiz was a layman, married, and had two sons and a daughter. Born in Binondo, Manila, ... continue reading



Christian Saints & Heroes

Image of

Duc in Altum: Men, Put Out Into the Deep on the Feast of St Joseph

By Rev. Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D.

This model of Christian manliness recommends himself to us not for any strange or exciting things he did (because he really didn't) but for the daily listening to and heeding the voice of Almighty God - in the home, in the synagogue and Temple, in the ... continue reading

More Christian Saints & Heroes


Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 10:34, 37-43
34 Then Peter addressed them, 'I now really ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
1 Alleluia! Give thanks to Yahweh for he is good, for ... Read More

Gospel, John 20:1-9
1 It was very early on the first day of the week and ... Read More

Reading 2, Colossians 3:1-4
1 Since you have been raised up to be with Christ, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 20th, 2014 Image

St. Marian
April 20: When St. Mamertinus was Abbot of the monastery which 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