Benedictine saints & blesseds: November 2008 Archives

Saint Sylvester, abbot

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St Sylvester abbot2.jpgMost merciful God, Who, when the holy abbot Sylvester stood by the side of an open tomb meditating on the vanity of the things of this world, did vouchsafe to call him into the wilderness and there to adorn him with the merits of a most holy life; we humbly beseech Thee, that following his example and despising earthly things, we may enjoy eternal fellowship with Thee.


The Sylvestrine Benedictine charism has a constant devotion to the passion of Christ, a special relationship to Mary, the Mother of God. What Saint Sylvester gave his followers was the blessing of being true spiritual father with a genuine ability to attract and to form his disciples according to God's own ways. The monks of this congregation seriously lived the vocation in simplicity and poverty for Christ and the Church.


In speaking to the venerable Sylvestrine Benedictines, Pope John Paul II said:


A contemplative and anxious to be consistent with the Gospel, Sylvester became a hermit, practicing a strict ascetical life and growing in a deep and vigorous spirituality. For his disciples he chose Saint Benedict's Rule, wishing to build a community that would be dedicated to contemplation but would not ignore the surrounding social reality. In fact, he himself united a life of recollection, with the ministry of an esteemed spiritual fatherhood and the proclamation of the Gospel to the people of the region.

Lord our God,

St Mechtild.jpgthrough Your loving favor,

You revealed to blessed Mechtild, your virgin, the hidden secrets of your providence. May we who know You now through faith rejoice hereafter to see You face to face.


Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


A brief biography can be read here. One key point in the life of Saint Mechtild is that she was the dear friend of Saint Gertrude the Great and who had a spiritual daughter in the other Mechtild, that of Magdeburg, who lived at the same time.

Saint Gertrude the Great

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St Gertrude3.jpgO God, Who in the most pure heart of blessed Gertrude Thy Virgin did prepare for Thyself a well-pleasing dwelling, mercifully efface all stains from our hearts, so that they may merit worthily to be made the dwelling place of Thy divine majesty.


Saint Gertrude was not drawn to the Heart of Jesus as much as through the Heart of Jesus, to the Father, in the Holy Spirit. Her prayer is essentially Trinitarian. Her whole being is oriented ad Patrem, and this because she is united to the Son, because she has entered through the pierced Heart of the Son as through an open door, oriented and carried as it were, by the breath of the Holy Spirit.


Saint Gertrude reminds us that the entire liturgy is Trinitarian: every detail, the smallest word or gesture in the sacred liturgy is a contact with Christ. In the liturgy, nothing is insignificant. Everything is invested with sacramentality, that is, with the potential to unite us to Christ, so that through Him and with Him we might pass into the fiery embrace of the Holy Spirit and the bosom of the Father. Saint Gertrude reminds us that the liturgy -- the Eucharist and other the sacraments, but also the Liturgy of the Hours -- is more than a complex of words and chants, rites and gestures. (courtesy of MDMK)


Sacred Heart2.jpgSaint Gertrude's Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Hail! O Sacred Heart of Jesus, living and quickening source of eternal life, infinite treasure of the Divinity, and burning furnace of divine love. You are my refuge and my sanctuary, O my amiable Savior.


Consume my heart with that burning fire with which Yours is ever inflamed. Pour down on my soul those graces which flow from Your love, and let my heart be so united with Yours, that our wills may be one, and mine in all things, be conformed to Yours. May Your divine will be equally the standard and rule of all my desires and of all my actions. Amen.

Saint Gertrude on friendship


One day between Easter and Ascension I went into the garden before [Office of] Prime, and sitting down beside the pond, I began to consider what a pleasant place it was. I was charmed by the clear water and flowing streams, the fresh green of the surrounding trees, the birds flying so freely about, especially the doves. But most of all, I loved the quiet, hidden peace of this secluded retreat.


I asked myself what more was needed to complete my happiness in a place that seemed to me so perfect, and I reflected that it was the presence of a friend, intimate, affectionate, wise, and companionable, to share my solitude


Benedictine All Saints

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Christ and saints.jpgToday we celebrate the feast of All Saints who persevered under the Rule of Saint Benedict are now with God as intercessors for us at the Throne of Grace.


Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festival in honor of all the saints who did battle under the Rule of Saint Benedict, at whose solemnity the Angels rejoice and all together praise the Son of God.


Almighty and ever-faithful God, who ceaselessly bestow the gift of monastic life upon your Church, grant us, we beseech you,   perseverance in that same vocation that we may advance full of gratitude for those who have gone before us on this path, holding nothing more dear than Christ.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]



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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Benedictine saints & blesseds category from November 2008.

Benedictine saints & blesseds: October 2008 is the previous archive.

Benedictine saints & blesseds: January 2009 is the next archive.

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