+ Charles was born in Denmark and was the son of the king, Saint Canute. After his father’s murder, Charles’ mother, Adela, took him to Flanders.
+ After making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Charles was offered the crown of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, but he refused.
+ Following the death of Robert II in 1111, Charles became a close advisor of his cousin, Count Baldwin VII. When Baldwin died in 1119, Charles succeeded him as count of Flanders.
+ Like many figures of his era, Charles was a complex figure and his treatment of Flanders’ Jewish community is a blemish on his rule. Although criticized for expelling all Jews from Flanders in 1125, he was also loved for his care for the poor and economic policies, which protected the few rights of the lower classes and of indentured servants.
+ As a result of these policies, members of the powerful Erembald family ordered their knights to murder Charles as he knelt in prayer in the church of St. Donation in Bruges.
+ Because of the nature of his death, Charles was immediately honored as a martyr and his remains were enshrined in the cathedral in Bruges. Devotion to Blessed Charles “the Good” was confirmed in 1883.
“He guided the just man on the straight path
and showed him God’s kingdom.”—Wisdom 10:14
Almighty and merciful God, who brought your Martyr blessed Charles to overcome the torments of his passion, grant that we, who celebrate the day of his triumph, may remain invincible under your protection against the snares of the enemy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Martyrs—For One Martyr)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.