St. John Gualbert was born in 993. As a young man in Italy, he was concerned chiefly with fun and romance, until his brother Hugh was murdered. In his grief, John vowed to take revenge and kill the man who had killed his brother.
On Good Friday, John found his brother’s murderer and was prepared to kill him. The man begged for mercy, and John had a vision of Christ on the cross. He remembered how Jesus had forgiven his enemies, and was moved to forgive the man.
After this encounter, John joined a monastery for a few years, and then moved to Vallombrosa with a group of men to found a monastery that followed the Rule of St. Benedict. The monastery was dedicated to taking care of the sick and poor.
Popes often consulted John, as he was known for his humility, wisdom and great holiness. He died in 1073 at the age of 80, and was canonized in 1193. His order, the Vallombrosan Benedictines, still exist today in Tuscany and Lombardy.
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