St. Bernard, The Doggie’s Namesake, Is An Actual Saint.

St. B points the way to an Alpine mountain hut. Credit: Bri-Tri.

[Editor Note: This tidbit was submitted by LuAnn Snyder, a freelance writer from Maryland.]

Here’s a bit of trivia about the Patron Saint and Protector of Skiers: St. Bernard of Montjoux.

Little is known for certain about St. Bernard of Montjoux who was probably born in Italy, c. 996 and died at Novara, Lombardy, Italy in 1081 at the age of 85.

He was proclaimed the Patron Saint and protector of skiers, alpinists, and mountain climbers by Pope Innocent XI in 1681 and confirmed by Pope Pius XI (himself a mountaineer) in 1923 because Bernard spent more than four decades conducting missionary work in the Alps by ministering to the welfare of the scattered inhabitants. His Feast day is celebrated on May 28.

St. B has his own flag.

He is said to have been ordained a priest, made vicar general of Aosta and built schools and churches in the diocese. He is especially remembered for two hostels he built to aid and save the lives of pilgrims on their way to Rome who were lost in the mountain passes or who had fallen victims to avalanche, exposure, and other mountain hazards. The mountaintop on which he’d build his monastery in the Alps, between Switzerland and Italy, is named for him: Great and Little Bernard.

He was further honored in the late 1800’s when European dog breeders renamed the Alpine Mastiff, the St. Bernard. The St. Bernard dogs were formerly used by the heroic monks who were accompanied by their well-trained dogs to go out in search of victims who may have succumbed to the severity of the weather. The Saint Bernard dog was especially breed to assist travelers in this mountainous region.

His image appears in the flag of some detachments of the Tyrolean Alpine Guard. He is also the patron saint of skiing, snowboarding, hiking, backpacking, mountaineering.

You may want to keep St. Bernard in mind if you unexpectedly find yourself on top of a double-black diamond.  You never know..

If you’re stuck, St. Bernard will send his pups.

One Comment

  1. Ah ski in your spirit St. Bernard de Montjoux.

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