Hermann von Reichenau (1013 – 1054), a native of Swabia, Germany, and the son of the Duke and Duchess of Altshausen, was born a cripple. It is believed he suffered from cerebral palsy, spina bifida and a cleft palate. At the age of seven, he was entrusted by his parents to the care of monks at a Benedictine Monastery situated in the shores of Lake Constance. He was professed at the age of twenty and remained in the same monastery till his death twenty years later.
Blessed Herman the Cripple had a keen mind: he was fluent in Latin, Greek and Arabic and wrote treatises on theology, mathematics and astronomics. Even though his physical ailments brought him much suffering throughout life, Blessed Herman was never heard to complain. On the contrary, he was of a cheerful disposition, having always a smile for those with whom he spoke, becoming a beacon of hope and joy for all within the monastery. When he went blind in later life, he began writing hymns, the best known of which is Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen).
Every time we pray the Holy Rosary, we end in prayer with Blessed Herman. The Salve Regina reminds us of our deep connection not only to Our Blessed Mother, but to all those who suffer alongside us in this valley of tears.
Hail Holy Queen
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee to we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn, then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.