St. Bruno of Segni was born in Solero, Piedmont. His early education was received from the Benedictines in his town. He later studied in Bologna and received ordination.
He was made a canon of Siena. Known for his great learning and piety, he was called to Rome, where his advice was sought by four successive popes.
At a synod in Rome in 1079 he forced Berengarius of Tours, who denied the real presence of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, to retract his heresy. He enjoyed the personal friendship of Gregory VII, who in 1080, appointed Bruno to be Bishop of Segni (near Rome). Though out of humility he declined the cardinalate, he was called “the brilliant defender of the church” because of his efforts in aiding Gregory VII and the succeeding popes in their efforts for ecclesiastical reform, and especially in denouncing lay investiture, which he even declared to be heretical.
He accompanied Pope Urban II in 1095 to the Council of Clermont in which the First Crusade was inaugurated. In 1102 he became a monk of Monte Casino and was elected abbot in 1107, without, however, resigning his episcopal charge. With many bishops of Italy and France, Bruno rejected the treaty known in history as the “Privilegium” that Henry V of Germany had demanded from Pope Paschal II, allowing him the right of investiture of ring and crosier upon bishops and abbots, Because of his opposition, Paschal II commanded Bruno to give up his abbey and to return to his episcopal see.
St. Bruno continued his work for the welfare of his flock, as well as for the common interest of the church at large, till his death. He was canonized by Pope Lucius III in 1183.
St. Bruno was the author of numerous works, among which are his commentaries on the Pentateuch, the Book of Job, the Psalms, the four Gospels, and the Apocalypse.
Adapted by A.J. Valentini