Benedictine saints & blesseds: May 2013 Archives

St Augustine of Canterbury icon.jpg

The "Apostle of the English," Saint Augustine of Canterbury is the one most credited for proclaiming the Gospel and organizing the Church in England in late sixth and early seventh centuries, a mission given to him by Pope Saint Gregory the Great.

We know little of Augustine's birth or of his early life. Scholars think, however, he was as a Roman, in fact, a member of a noble family. The vocation he followed was to the monastic life  under the Rule of Saint Benedict. Augustine's Benedictine life was lived in a recently for formed colony of monks under Gregory, later pope, saint, and doctor of the Church.

What know of Augustine's mission is in light of Pope Gregory's missionary impulse for the deeper conversion of the Anglo-saxons. Data tells us that in around 595, five years into Gregory's 14-year pontificate, Augustine was sent, with about 40 monks, to England to develop a plan for evangelization. Even though the gospel had been planted in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, the faith was weak or not well taught and so it was thought that the people needed to be evangelized anew. The mission was given in June 596 but the monks didn't end up leaving until the spring of 597. In time, Augustine's talents surfaced and was nominated the superior and then archbishop.

Through the preaching of the monks, King Ethelbert would later convert, and eventually even be canonized; his wife Bertha became exemplary in the practice of the faith.

Augustine and Gregory both died in 604.

Saint Augustine, pray for Great Britain, and us.

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St Bede the Venerable.jpg

Today in 725, Saint Bede the Venerable, the sole English Doctor of the Church died, at his monastery in Jarrow. His liturgical memorial is kept today. Here is the account of his death.

"On Tuesday 24th May 735 Bede took grievously ill but continued to teach, he cheerfully suggested to his pupils that they learn quickly as he may not be with them long. The next day Bede taught until nine in the morning. He then dictated part of his book to Wilbert. That evening Wilbert said to Bede "Dear master, there is still one sentence that we have not written down." Bede said "Quick, write it down." Wilbert then said "There; now it is written down." Bede replied "Good. You have spoken the truth; it is finished. Hold my head in your hands, for I really enjoy sitting opposite the holy place where I used to pray; I can call upon my Father as I sit there." 

"And Bede then as he lay upon the floor of his cell sang the Gloria and as he named the Holy Spirit he breathed his last breath. His only possessions - some handkerchiefs, a few peppercorns and a small quantity of incense were shared amongst his brother monks as he had wished.

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Saint Pachomius

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St. Pachomius.jpgWe honor a great Church father, Saint Pachomiuswith the liturgical memorial today. 

Saint Pachomius is a founding figure in Christian monasticism. History recalls for us that it Pachomius who is attributed with being the first to write a rule for cenobitic (communal monk, as opposed to being a hermit) monastic life. The text survives only in Coptic.

Pachomius lived in the first half of the 4th century, he is a former soldier in the Roman army.

Saint Pachomius, pray for us!
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Holy abbots of cluny.jpeg

Lord our God, you are the shield and glorious reward of those who walk blamelessly before you. Keep us steadfast in your holy service so that, by the example and intercession of the blessed abbots of Cluny, we may with open hearts run the path of perfect charity

The Benedictine liturgical calendar honors the holy abbots of Cluny, Saints Odo, Majolo, Odilo, Hugh, and Blessed Peter the Venerable. 

Saint Odo, the second abbot of Cluny, born circa 878, and he died on 18 November, 942. He reformed several monasteries in Aquitaine, northern France, and Italy, and was entrusted with some important political missions;

Saint Majolus or Maieul born in 906, and died in 994. Otto II desired to make him pope in 974 but he refused;

Saint Odilo, fifth abbot of Cluny, born around 962 and died on 31 December 1048. The number of monasteries in the Cluniac congregation (mainly by reforming existing monasteries) increased from 37 to 65 under his abbacy; we worked to achieve a truce, that is, 'the peace of God' that restricted warfare; he acted charitably which saved thousands during a time of famine and he is most remembered for introducing the Feast of All Saints into the Roman liturgical calendar;

Saint Hugh the Great was born at Semur (Brionnais in the Diocese of Autun, 1024 and died at Cluny, 28 April, 1109. A friend of Pope Saint Gregory VII Hugh played a key role in the reform of the clergy, and was widely recognized for his sanctity even during his lifetime.

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 May 2013.

Benedictine saints & blesseds: April 2013 is the previous archive.

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