Robert de Turlande was a French Roman Catholic priest and a member of the Order of Saint Benedict. He was related to Saint Gerald of Aurillac. He is known for the Benedictine convent of La Chaise-Dieu (‘Home of God’) and for his commitment to the poor.
He became a spiritual inspiration for Pope Clement VI, whose religious life was based at that convent. Robert de Turlande was born in 1000 as the last child of the nobles Géraud de Turlande and Raingarde His mother went into labor while in the forests near the castle she lived in and so gave birth to him there, this was seen as a sign he would become a hermit. Robert was educated through the Church of Saint-Julien in Brioude where he later became its canon. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1026, At the Church of Saint-Julien in Brioude, he founded a hospice for the poor. He later became a monk at Cluny and placed himself under the direction of Odilo of Cluny.
He traveled to Rome and the Papal States to learn about the rule of Benedict of Nursia who established the Benedictines. On December 28, 1043, with the knights Stephen Chaliers and Dalmas, he traveled to a vacant area of land around a ruined chapel that was to become his future Benedictine convent.
In 1046 he and two of his companions received the permission of Pope Gregory VI to establish a hermitage and begin a life of commitment to the poor. Gregory VI suggested the trio consider the contemplative life as a greater method of achieving their aim of providing for the poor. This made him to move to Auvergne. He was credited with the construction and restoration of around a total of 50 churches in his region.Around 1049, he had enough followers to use donations from the faithful given to him to construct a new Benedictine convent. Construction began in 1049 and finished in 1050. The convent received the blessing of the Bishop of Clermont. He then asked King Henry I and requested protection and approval for the new convent.
Robert de Turlande died on April 17, 1067. His funeral was set for April 24, because of the large number of people who wanted to attend. Hundreds of miracles were reported to have been performed due to his intercession. There were 300 monks at the convent at the time of his death.
On September 19, 1351, he was proclaimed a saint in a celebration that Pope Clement VI presided over in Avignon.