St. Bernard of Montjoux

Saint Bernard of Montjoux Icon by Natalie Schorr, 2019

Saint Bernard of Montjoux Icon by Natalie Schorr, 2019

St. Bernard of Montjoux was an Italian monk from the 11th century who apparently didn’t mind the cold. He established hostels in the Italian Alps to aid French and German pilgrims travelling to Rome. And yes, in case you were wondering, those big, hairy dogs are named after him.

As with many stories of saints, Bernard has a couple of names [Bernard of Menthon or of Montjoux] and a couple of feast days [May 28th and June 15th]. I suggest you celebrate both with an evening toddy of hot chocolate and a bit of Kahlua.

Telling the story of St. Bernard visually is fun. First, I made a drawing of my only nephew, Joseph, who obliged me with a shot taken by my son in a diner somewhere and sent to me through the magic of his iPhone.

I added this very cool Italian marbled paper behind him. It feels like an avalanche, common in the area of the Alps where Bernard served. I also added a section of an old puzzle of the Alps, of which he is the patron saint. Interestingly the puzzle took me much more time than I ever imagined it would.

St Bernard is also the patron saint of skiers, snowboarders, backpackers, and mountaineer types. The hostels he established are still around, although the rescues are now done with helicopters instead of big dogs with barrels of hot chocolate around their necks. Too bad. I kind of like the romance of the dogs.