Benedict Joseph Labre, the eldest of 15 children, was born near Boulogne, France in 1748. During the late 1760's, Benedict requested to join the Cistercian and Carthusian orders, but was turned down both times. At the agre of 22, he left his home for a pilgrimage by foot to Rome; these travels lasted 4 years. During the pilgrimage, he often slept only under the cover of the stars. His clothing was reducted to rags. His nourshment came only from handouts. Even after reaching his final destination, he continued to live on the streets and to sleep in the shadows of the ruins of the Colosseum, spending all of his awakened hours in prayer at the churches of Rome. As his health began to fail, he was forced to seek refuge in a hospice for the destitute. Given his chosen lifestyle, Benedict Joseph Labre is the patron saint of the homeless.