Today’s Saint

Daily Journey with the Saints

April 14 | Fortitude (Pt. 2)

Saint Bénézet

A.D. 1163–1184

“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality.”

That’s how C.S. Lewis defined courage. It is being able to practice every other virtue when things get difficult. Very difficult. 

In Catholic terminology, we use the word fortitude to describe the kind of courage that can survive even the most difficult testing. We talked about it back on March 24th, but every single saint embodies the virtue of fortitude in some way. 

Saint Bénézet is no exception.

Bénézet the shepherd boy was tending his flock when he received a divine calling. The voice of Jesus commanded him to go to Avignon, a city in Southern France, to undertake a seemingly impossible mission—to build a bridge across the raging Rhône River. This was no small feat. The river was known for its treacherous currents and had claimed many lives. In fact, even the engineers of ancient Rome had deemed it impossible, and European learning had still not caught up to them. 

Arriving in Avignon, Bénézet faced skepticism and ridicule. Yet, he remained undeterred. Miraculously, he is said to have lifted a colossal stone, signaling the beginning of construction. 

Day after day, Saint Bénézet went to work with brick and mortar. Eventually, the shepherd boy’s fortitude inspired a large cohort of men to assist him in his endeavor, and they called themselves the “Fraternity of Bridge Builders.”

Eighteen miracles were reported during the building of the bridge: the blind could see, the deaf could hear, and the paralyzed could walk. And perhaps just as miraculously, the bridge was built, and is today called Pont Saint-Benezet.

Saint Bénézet passed away four years before the bridge was completed, at the age of just twenty-one. His remains were interred in the bridge. Years later, a flood washed over the bridge and took his coffin away. When it was found in 1669, Saint Bénézet’s body was incorrupt.

Saint Bénézet could not have finished his mission if he let himself be overcome with worry or distraction. Deep, still waters in the soul are the gift of fortitude. This calmness of the soul is necessary to avoid getting carried away in the moment and helps us to stay focused on our duties and commitments.

Follow God’s call with fortitude. You’ll be amazed by what you accomplish.


I can accomplish the seemingly impossible with fortitude.

This reflection is brought to you from book title.

Patron Saint of: Avignon, Bachelors, and Bridge-Builders

Symbols: Large Stones

Feast Day Shared By: Saints Tiburtius, Valerianus, and Maximus

Image of mountain and man reflecting in the water below.

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