+ Siard was born into a noble family in Friesland (part of modern-day Netherlands).
+ Educated by the Norbertine canons at Mariëngaarde, he entered the order in 1175. He was elected abbot of the community in 1194.
+ Under his leadership, the community flourished and he worked to strengthen the spirit of Saint Norbert in the canons.
+ Known for his humility, Siard was also loved by the poor, whom he would feed with his own hands. It is related that when he went on journeys, he would take along a basket of food that he could distribute to the poor.
+ Siard had a special devotion to Saints Martha and Mary of Bethany and he would often lift of these two saints as models for his Norbertine confreres.
+ Saint Siard died on November 14, 1230. Devotion to Saint Siard was officially approved by Pope Benedict XIII in 1728.
On this day, the Church also honors the memory of Blessed Maria Louisa Merkert. In 1842, she helped establish the Sisters of St. Elizabeth in Nelsse, Prussia. The sisters had the special task of caring for the poor in their own homes at no charge. Blessed Maria Louisa died on November 14, 1872, and was beatified in 2007.
“The greatest among you must be your servant.”—Matthew 23:11
God, who made Your saints to obey the Gospel as an example for many; grant, we beseech You, that we may imitate the cheerful goodness and devout piety of the blessed abbot Siard. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.