Benedictine saints & blesseds: August 2012 Archives
Almighty God, who through your grace, the Blessed Alfredo Ildefonso, by his exemplary virtue built up the flock entrusted to him, grant that we, under the guidance of the Gospel may follow his teaching and walk in sureness of life, until we come to see you face to face in your eternal Kingdom.
Today we honor the Church honors a great 20th century Benedictine monk, priest, bishop and cardinal, Blessed Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster. He died on this date in 1954. At the time of his death he was the cardinal-archbishop of Milan.
Blessed Ildefonso is one of my great Benedictine heros. He's known for promoting catechetics and the role of the laity in life of the Church in a time prior to it becoming a "normal" thing. Moreover, he diligently looked after the poor, denounced the totalitarian thinking of Facism, Nazism and racism, proposed models of holiness for all people --not just the clerical elite-- and he lived the sacred Liturgy and founded the Institute of Ambrosian Chant and Sacred Music.
When the process of beatification came to a certain point, church officials opened Cardinal Schuster's tomb and found his body to be incorruptible. A more certain sign of holiness. He was announced as a Venerable Servant of God on March 26, 1994 and beatified by Blessed John Paul II on May 12, 1996.
An obscure Benedictine saint is liturgically honored by the Church today. Saint Bernard Tolomei, (1272-1348) the founder of the Benedictine Congregation of the Blessed Virgin of Monte Oliveto (near Siena) in 1319. He was beatified in 1644 but not canonized until 2009, though he was revered as a saint for a long time before Pope Benedict canonized him.
The Olivetan monks have an intense devotion to the Virgin Mary due to the founder's attribution to the healing of his blindness by the intercession of the Virgin; their life has been one of penance and silence. Hence, Saint Bernard is called the "hero of penance and martyr of charity." And this is our desire today.
Nearly 900 years ago Bernard of Fontaine-lès-Dijon led a group of young Burgundian noblemen, to the Abbey of Cîteaux in 1112 or 1113. The fledgling new monastery got a burst of new life and from there set the world ablaze with what became the Cistercian charism.
Let us pray for the Cistercians in the North America, paying particular attention to the intention of young men and women entering the monastic life under the gaze of Saint Bernard. Beginning today until a year from now, the Cistercians are observing a Year of Saint Bernard. Let's join them in knowing more about this pivotal saint and monk.
Most loving Father, in establishing the New Monastery at Cîteaux our fathers followed the poor Christ into the desert. Thus they lived the Gospel, by rediscovering the Rule of Saint Benedict in its purity.
You gave Bernard of Fontaine the ability to make this new life attractive and appealing to others, in the joy of the Holy Spirit.
Grant that we today, after their example, may live our charism deeply in a spirit of peace, unity, humility, and above all, in the charity which surpasses all other gifts.
May men and women of our time be called to follow the Gospel in monastic life, in the service of the Church's mission, in a world often forgetful of You.
May the monks and nuns of our Order continue to live in the enthusiastic and generative spirit of the founders. And in all of our needs may we always turn to Our Lady whom Bernard called the Star of the Sea.
Holy Father, from whom we have already received so much, grant us again your blessing that our communities may grow in numbers, but above all in grace and in wisdom, to your glory, who are blessed for ever and ever. Amen.
Prayer adapted from the original by Dom Olivier, abbot of Citeaux.