Category Archives: Benedictine saints & blesseds

St. Hildegard of Bingen

St. Hildegard’s Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Fire of the Spirit, life of the lives of creatures,
spiral of sanctity, bond of all natures,
glow of charity, lights of clarity, taste
of sweetness to sinners, be with us and hear us.

Composer of all things, light of all the risen,
key of salvation, release from the dark prison,
hope of all unions, scope of chastities, joy
in the glory, strong honour, be with us and hear us.
Amen.

St Bernard of Clairvaux

St. Bernard did write great works, to become the character most of insight of his century, but his most fruitful work, the one that still reaches us today, always alive, is his memory of the Mystery that evangelizes us, monastic, with the scent, taste and light of the Beauty of God.

Fr. Mauro-Giuseppe Lepori
General Abbot OCist

Blessed Guerric of Igny

Blessed Guerric of Igny (1070-80 – 1160) is a stellar example of someone who followed in the example of St Bernard of Clairvaux’s ministry of preaching. Abbot Guerric is remembered for his preaching (see the collections of sermons published by Cistercians Publications). He was skilled at the coalescing sacred Scripture and philosophy, taking biblical types and making the application to Christ and Christian discipleship. It is said that Guerric was the medieval preacher of “God’s grace in biblical imagery.”

The intellectual and spiritual formation of Guerric happened first in a cathedral setting as the master of the school, and then in the Clarivaux Abbey. He was in a short time elected the second abbot of the Cistercian community at Igny.

Brethren, it is the command of our gentle and peace-making Master that we should be at peace with one another. Yet before that he says: Have salt in yourselvesHe knows well that peaceful gentleness nourishes vices unless the severity of zeal has first sprinkled them with the sharp taste of salt, just as mild weather causes meat to grow wormy unless the heat of salt has dried it out. Therefore be at peace with one another, but let it be a peace that is seasoned with the salt of wisdom; try to acquire gen­tleness, but let it be a gentleness filled with the warmth of faith. (Blessed Guerric of Igny, Sermo IV in festo S. Benedicti: PL 185,111-112).

The value of knowing Guerric of Igny is first as a Cistercian monastic father, but also as an eloquent preacher of Grace calling us into deeper communio with the Most Blessed Trinity.

St Bernard Tolomei

“God is love… and in the strength of that blessed love
All goods are obtained and everything is shaped by it,
And the man in his midst becomes God.”
~Bernardo Tolomei

On the Benedictine liturgical calendar, the commemoration today is for St. Bernard Tolomei (1272-1348), the Siena born monk who founded what is today is known as the Olivetan Benedictine Congregation. This monastic foundation follows the Holy Rule of St. Benedict and is under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Angels, hence their wearing of a white habit. One tradition of the Olivetans is to fast on Monday to honor the Archangel Michael (the secondary patron of the Congregation). Bernard is recalled as the “hero of penance and martyr of charity.”

St. Bernard Tolomei, teach us the meaning of true penance and charity.

St Benedict

Friends, a blessed Feast of St. Benedict!

“Help me, great St. Benedict, to live and die as a faithful child of God, to run in the sweetness of His loving will, and to attain the eternal happiness of heaven. Amen.”

Saint John Paul II expressed his sincere hope: “May every Benedictine community present itself with a well-defined identity, like a “city on a hill”, distinct from the surrounding world, but open and welcoming to the poor, to pilgrims and to all who are searching for a life of greater fidelity to the Gospel!”

Blessed John Henry Newman tells us: “We are told to be like little children; and where shall we find a more striking instance than is here afforded us of that union of simplicity and reverence, that clear perception of the unseen, yet recognition of the mysterious, which is the characteristic of the first years of human existence? To the monk heaven was next door; he formed no plans, he had no cares; the ravens of his father Benedict were ever at his side. He “went forth” in his youth “to his work and to his labour” until the evening of life; if he lived a day longer, he did a day’s work more; whether he lived many days or few, he laboured on to the end of them. He had no wish to see further in advance of his journey than where he was to make his next stage. He ploughed and sowed, he prayed, he meditated, he studied, he wrote, he taught, and then he died and went to heaven. He made his way into the labyrinthine forest, and he cleared just so much of space as his dwelling required, suffering the high solemn trees and the deep pathless thicket to close him in.
(‘The Mission of St Benedict’, The Atlantis, 1858)

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]yahoo.com.
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