Tag Archives: Benedictine saints and blesseds

Benedictine Martyrs

OSB MartyrsMonks and nuns are prime candidates in being martyrs for the Catholic Faith. Today, the Benedictine Congregation of St Ottilien (a missionary group of missionary monks) collectively honor those who shed their blood for Christ between the years of 1889 and 1954. Laying down one’s own life by accepting death bears witness to faith in Jesus Christ and His Church.

Many of these monks died in Asia and Africa.

Saint Maurus and Saint Placidus

Maurus and PlacidusBenedictines have today as the feast day of Saint Maurus and Saint Placidus, disciples of Saint Benedict. What sticks out in peoples minds about Maurus is the relation he has with Benedict’s impressive miracles. The miracle is recounted by Pope Saint Gregory the Great in chapter 7 of the Second Book of his Dialogues:

“On a certain day, as the venerable Benedict was in his cell, the young Placidus, one of the Saint’s monks, went out to draw water from the lake; and putting his pail into the water carelessly, fell in after it. The water swiftly carried him away, and drew him nearly a bowshot from the land. Now the man of God, though he was in his cell, knew this at once, and called in haste for Maurus, saying: ‘Brother Maurus, run, for the boy who went to the lake to fetch water, has fallen in, and the water has already carried him a long way off!’

What does the miraculous gesture of Saint Benedict show us?  The raising of Placidus challenges what we typically believe about truth and reality and our disordered desire to be constantly in control. Benedict tells us that we are not in control –only God is. The ordering of our human desires requires us to be in alignment with God’s Holy Will. This episode also illustrates Benedict’s point in the monastic tradition and spoken of in the Rule of mutual obedience –the listening to each other and the following the lead of the superior. On one level mutual obedience teaches a fraternal reliance on one another; on a higher level, mutual obedience is a distinct form of listening to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is manifests Himself in the discerning and holy activity of people who have their hearts and minds attuned to God’s Voice.

Blessed Jutta of Disibodenberg

Until I read somewhere else today, I never heard of Blessed Jutta of Disibodenberg (c. 1084-1136), a German noble woman, an anchoress, and the teacher of children, especially Saint Hildegaard of Bingen.

Blessed Jutta’s history says that taught female students from wealthy families at her hermitage. She taught and raised them all, most notably the child Hildegard of Bingen.

Jutta was known for her sanctity and her life of extraordinary penance; Justta was known as a healer.

On the Day of All Saints, November 1, 1112, Hildegard was given over as a Benedictine oblate into the care of Jutta. It was Jutta who taught Hildegard to write; to read the psalms used in the Liturgy;  to chant the recitation of the Canonical hours. She probably also taught Hildegard to play the zither-like string instrument called the psaltery.

Saint Hildegaard of Bingen, succeeded Jutta as abbess; Benedict XVI named Hildegard a Doctor of the Church and we would make the claim that she owes her fundamental knowledge of life to Blessed Jutta. Let us pray for those who were our first teachers of life and faith.

Itala Mela named Blessed by Pope

Itala MelaWe have a new Benedictine oblate Blessed!
 
Today, Pope Francis and the Congregation of Saints approved of the miracle attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God Itala Mela.
 
The new Blessed was a Benedictine Oblate of the Abbey of Saint Paul outside the Walls (Rome). She was in La Spezia (Italy) on 28 August 1904 and died on 29 April 1957.
 
Itala also went by the name of Sister Maria of the Trinity.
 
Mela’s particular mission was to make the Holy Trinity known and loved. Dom Aldo Piccinelli, OSB, wrote a book on Mela’s teaching, The Spiritual Experience of Itala Mela: A life incandescently immersed in the Trinity (2015).
 
Thanks be to God for the gift of new Blessed from among the Benedictine Oblates!

Benedictine All Saints

All Benedictine SaintsWe of the Benedictine family traditionally celebrate the feast of All Saints of the Benedictine Order — In Festo Omnium Sanctorum Ordinis S.P.N. Benedicti.

The Cistercians –who likewise follow the Rule of St. Benedict, observe this day for All Saints of their Order.

The Introit of the feast reads:

“Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festival in honour 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.”

Through intercession of all the Benedictine saints, let us pray for that our brothers and sisters throughout the world (the nuns, monks, and oblates) living under the Rule of Saint Benedict,
may persevere in daily seeking the face of God; thus giving the Holy Trinity praise day and night.

“Avete Solitudinis Claustrique Mites”

Hail dwellers in the solitude
And in the lowly cloister cell,
Who steadfast and unshaken stood
Against the raging hordes of hell.

All wealth of gold and precious stone
And glories all of rank and birth
You cast away and trampled on,
With all low pleasures of this earth.

The green fields and the orchards grew
The simple fare whereon ye fed.
The brook was drink enough for you,
And on the hard ground was your bed.

Around you dwelt the venomed snakes,
And fiercest monsters harboured near.
All foul forms that the demon takes
You saw, but would not yield to fear.

Far, far beyond all earthly things
Your burning thoughts would wing their flight,
And hear the holy whisperings
Of angels in the heavenly height.

Thou Father of the heavenly host,
Thou glorious Son of Mary maid,
Thou Paraclete, the Holy Ghost,
To Thee be praise and glory paid.

~text found in the Breviaries Monasticum until 1963, and in the Breviaries Cisterciense.

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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