Tag Archives: Benedictine saints and blesseds

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

A poetic text for this great liturgical memorial …

The Father’s light of glory has drawn in to itself
The holy Doctor Bernard,
Come, praise with him the Lord!

On earth he spoke of Jesus,
His birth in human flesh,
And found therein a meekness
Which turns our hearts to God.

The mysteries of the Virgin concealed in
Scripture’s word, He opened as a fountain
Of God’s abounding love.

His speech flowed deep with wisdom
As though a mountain lake
Containing saving waters ran down in streams of light.

We ask today assistance to truly
know ourselves, and in our hearts to savor
The presence of the Word.

To Father, Son and Spirit
All praise and honor be,
In truth and love coequal
For all eternity.

Saint Arnold of Soissons, patron of hop pickers, beer brewers

I didn’t know until I saw the following post on the Daylesford Abbey FB page:

Today we remember Saint Arnold of Soissons (1040–1087), the patron saint of hop-pickers and beer brewers. Arnold, born in Belgium, founded the Abbey of St. Peter in Oudenburg. At the abbey, he began to brew beer, as essential in medieval life as water. He encouraged local peasants to drink beer, instead of the contaminated village water, due to its “gift of health.” During the process of brewing, the water was boiled and thus, unknown to all, freed of pathogens.

As one would have thought, a Benedictine monk perfected beer making. Saint Arnold did good work for the health of his people through brewing beer.

Saint Arnold, pray for hop pickers, beer brewers, and for all of us who enjoy a good beer.

Saint Benedict, the man of blessing

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Today is the Feast of Saint Benedict! It was originally the feast of the translation of his relics, but after Monte Cassino was bombed they discovered that his relics were evidently never translated! Pope Paul changed it to the feast of Saint Benedict Patron of Europe. One of the most sensible things he ever did.

The perduring gift to the Church is the Rule of Saint Benedict. It is a beautiful compilation of how to live together seeking the face of God. One part on humility is worth noting. Benedict’s teaching on humility is here.

Father Giussani points out about life in Communion and Liberation:

“Now, we must also say that to live communion is not a small matter; it is all of Christian life, because Christian life is Christ among us who makes us one sole body. And this, I believe, is the heart of the original Benedictine tradition, with which our Movement felt itself to coincide from the beginning. The heart of our Movement is this, and I really believe that it is being disciples of the original Benedictine history that has made our Movement like this. Therefore, it is no small matter; it is the example that has to happen.”

A short review of the importance of Saint Benedict and Benedictines in the life of Communion and Liberation is here.

Blessed feast of Saint Benedict.


Saint Romuald, monk

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Today is the feast of Saint Romuald, monk, abbot, and founder of the Camaldolese Benedictines. Romuald was a mid-10th century man of an aristocratic family who after living a life of craziness and witnessing immorality of friends and family, he move to follow the Lord caused him to radically live differently than the norm.

Camaldolese Benedictines are not well known in the USA. There are only four foundations of the Camaldolese monks and nuns in the USA: 3 in California (monks) and one in New York State (nuns).

The Camaldolese monks in Rome, for example, have as their main church, Saint Gregory the Great. From there, Gregory sent the Benedictines to England. Today, the Camaldolese monks have somewhat an ecumenical outreach to non-Catholics, and they have had an on-going relationship with the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In 2007, Pope Benedict wrote to the Camaldolese Order on the feast of Saint Peter Damian. Read the letter. It speaks of the charism of the Camadolese vocation as one of solitude and communion. This is not an esoteric vocation: it is a manner of living that grounds a person in the essential.

In 2012, the Camadolese Benedictines observed a 1000 years of being a faithful community in the Church, known as the Holy Hermitage of Camaldoli. At this time, Pope Benedict said,

“Saint Romuald, the father of the Camaldolese monks, striving for an eremitic life and discipline, wandered through Italy for many years, building monasteries and tirelessly promoting the evangelical life among monks.”

And so, what does this say to us? The life of Romuald and what Benedict has highlighted, we can form our lives around the principles of silence, prayer, communion with God and others, living according to Good News. This is a serious proposition. This is what Jesus asks of us.

With the Church, we pray:

O God, who through Saint Romuald renewed the manner of life of hermits in your Church, grant that, denying ourselves and following Christ, we may merit to reach the heavenly realms on high.

Saint Augustine of Canterbury

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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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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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