Benedictine saints & blesseds: May 2009 Archives

St Augustine of Canterbury.jpg

O God, Who by the preaching and wondrous deeds of blessed Augustine, Thy Confessor and Bishop, did vouchsafe to enlighten the English nation with the light of true faith; grant that his intercession the hearts  of the erring may return to the unity of Thy truth, and that we may be one mind in doing Thy holy will.


Saint Augustine of Canterbury (d. 604), was the first bishop of Canterbury, sent by Pope Saint Gregory the Great to evangelize the pagan English peoples.

Saint Augustine had been a monk of Saint Gregory's monastery on the Caelian Hill in Rome. In 595/596  he was sent to England first as the abbot of a group of monks. He established himself at Canterbury, the capital of the then powerful Kingdom of Kent, and in time baptized King Ethelbert.

Augustine is credited for laying the very foundation of the Ecclesia Anglicana because of his pastoral vision. That he was a close associate to Gregory the Great one thinks that the friendship had some role in the former's zeal for the Kingdom. Augustine's method of evangelizing England was not notable: he sent missionaries to all parts of England --how else would you preach the Gospel. But what was notable was his establishing Benedictine monastic life there, especially adjacent to the cathedral. So, looking at English ecclesial life you will notice the pattern of cathedrals have abbeys attached to them.

O God, Who has glorified Thy Church by the learning of blessed Bede, Thy Confessor and Doctor; mercifully grant to Thy servants that they may ever be enlightened by his wisdom and aided by his merits.

Catholics in America are generally unfamiliar with Saint Bede the Venerable. The Venerable Bede as he is often called, is rightly known as the "Father of English History" and his lasting work, History of the English Church and People, remains the basis of modern knowledge of the early period of the Church in England. Church has honored Bede with the titles of Confessor and Doctor of the Church.

St Bede.jpg

Bede's History is a decisive synthesis of the Celtic, Gregorian and 'Benedictine' heritage.

The medieval scholar Mary R. Price said: 'Under Bede's eyes, as he toiled away in his cell,the divided peoples of the "island lying in the sea" were being welded into a nation, and through his eyes and by his pen we can see this happening. We see also the fusion of the free-lance monasticism of the Celtic monks with the more regular discipline of the Benedictine rule, of the Celtic Church with the Roman.'

Another scholar who knows Bede's work well says: 'The centuries on which Bede concentrates are a crucial and formative period in our island history, during which the future shape and pattern of the English Church and nation were beginning to emerge.'

The Church universal is grateful for Bede's interpretative and synthesizing work that these key formative centuries are coherent and present to us as they give us a light on the form, life and significance without parallel.

The rigorous approach to the facts of history in his narration is widely acknowledged. He explicitly offers his own theological interpretation of the history he is treating, and clearly offers a monastic reading ecclesial history in the light of salvation history. But what else would you expect of a monk?

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]



Humanities Blog Directory

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Benedictine saints & blesseds category from May 2009.

Benedictine saints & blesseds: March 2009 is the previous archive.

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

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.