Blessing of Bees on the Feast of St. Benedict

Saint Benedict. Detail from a fresco by Fra Angelico.

St. Benedict is the patron of beekeepers, and many people attach medals of St. Benedict on their hives. Here is a blessing over the bees. This blessing is from the old Roman Ritual, which has been suppressed since the issue of the new Ritual. Laypersons can still use this blessing in private as personal prayer. St. Benedict's feast was formerly March 21, but it is now celebrated on July 11.

Those who themselves have bees could not do better than mark his day by praying for their hives. Farmers can pray for their cattle and their barns; fishermen for their fishing boats and the fish in the sea, why should bee-keepers do less? In some parts of France it was, and may still be, customary for bee-keepers to have a medal of St. Benedict affixed to their hives:
O Lord, God almighty, who hast created heaven and earth and every animal existing over them and in them for the use of men, and who hast commanded through the ministers of holy Church that candles made from the products of bees be lit in church during the carrying out of the sacred office in which the most holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ thy Son is made present and is received; may thy holy blessing descend upon these bees and these hives, so that they may multiply, be fruitful and be preserved from all ills and that the fruits coming forth from them may be distributed for thy praise and that of thy Son and the holy Spirit and of the most blessed Virgin Mary.

Prayer Source: Candle is Lighted, A by P. Stewart Craig, The Grail, Field End House, Eastcote, Middlesex, 1945

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