April 14, St. Benezet, Bridge Builder

Sur le Pont d'Avignon,
L'on y danse, l'on y danse.
Sur le pont d'Avignon,
L'on y danse, tous en rond.

Today is the feast of St. Benezet, who built the bridge across the Rhône River between Avignon and Villeneuve-les-Avignon.

Benezet, a shepherd boy, was inspired by God to become a bridge builder. He proved his mission by lifting a heavy stone, and in 1174, with the help of a bridge building brotherhood, he began construction. He worked on the bridge for ten years. In 1184, Benezet died and was buried in a chapel on the bridge. Four years later, in 1188, the Pont d'Avignon was finished.

The bridge was used for nearly five hundred years. When much of it collapsed into the river in 1669, St. Benezet's coffin was opened, and his body found incorrupt. His body was entrusted to the Celestines of Avignon.

Click here to see pictures of the bridge, including an aerial view.

Click here for a YouTube of the song.

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