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 lived as a monk for twenty years more. 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 and 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 (Hail Holy Queen) reminds us of our deep connection not only to Our Blessed Mother, but to all those who suffer alongside us in the world.