Tag Archives: Benedictine saints and blesseds

Saint Henry, king and Benedictine Oblate

St Henry Oblate.jpgThe feast of King Saint Henry (972-1024) always brings with it a keen remembrance of the commitment one makes as an Benedictine Oblate: seeking God unreservedly. The offering of oneself to God as a Benedictine oblate is a singular grace to take the gift of one’s humanity seriously as God has given it with the express desire to totally adore Him who makes us.

As this German king and Holy Roman Emperor he knew that holiness was possible in everyday life. You might say he was a monk without the monastic enclosure to God’s work in the every day.
A prior post on Saint Henry on Communio is here.
Benedictine Father Mark Kirby speaks well of good King Saint Henry here.
Let’s join with Saint Frances of Rome and Saint Henry in prayer for the grace of seeking God in all that we do, and in every place and time.

Saint Benedict

St Benedict healing.jpgThere was a man of venerable life, Benedict, blessed by grace and by name, who, leaving home and patrimony and desiring to please God alone, sought out the habit of holy living. (entr. ant.)

O God, who made the Abbot Saint Benedict an outstanding master in the school of divine service, grant we pray, that putting nothing before love of you, we may hasten with a loving heart in the way of your commands.
May Saint Benedict rich bless and continue to call to deeper conversion all believers, and in particular those monks, nuns, sisters and laity who follow the Holy Rule as a way life.
If you are interested in knowing more about Benedictine culture, theology and living, check out Liturgical Press’ recent catalog on Benedictine Resources.

Saint Romuald

St Romuald.JPG

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 of high.



“Sit in your cell as in paradise. Put the whole world behind you and forget it. Watch your thoughts like a good fisherman watching for fish. The path you must follow is in the Psalms — never leave it…. And if your mind wanders as you read, do not give up; hurry back and apply your mind to the words once more. Realize above all that you are in God’s presence, and stand there with the attitude of one who stands before the emperor…”


Saint Romuald (+1027)

Saint Gregory VII


Pope Gregory VII Excommunicates Henry IV.jpgThe figures of the medieval period in church history
is not high on many today. Issues of ecclesial reform and religious liberty
during the 11th century are resonant today. Liturgically the Church recalls one
of the popes who worked for reform and religious freedom: Pope Saint Gregory
VII. The Tuscan pope was born between 1020 and 1025 and bore the name of
Hildebrand. Reliable facts of his Hildebrand’s life are obscure but we know his
uncle Laurentius was abbot of a Roman monastery, where he engaged his
education. Monasteries were great centers of education and culture.




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Hildegard of Bingen: the reliable witness

hildegard.jpgSaint Hildegard of Bingen is getting some press these days. Many are very curious to know how and why the Pope did such an unusual thing in making her cult as concrete as possible. Being inscribed as a saint in the album of the saints is pretty concrete, I’d say.

The Church’s official teaching is seen by the use of concepts like “extension of Hildegard of Bingen’s cult to the entire Church,” meaning that she is proposed as a model of holiness with moral certainty to the faithful. Remember, only the Blessed Trinity is worshiped at the Liturgy. Saints and Blesseds are venerated, honored. Not the same. Hence, the definition of “cult” in Catholic theology is that the veneration saints particularly at the sacred Liturgy (i.e., the worship of God at Holy Mass, Lauds and Vespers) is made possible by the Church recognizing that this person is with God in heaven and is a reliable witness for Christian living.

For a long time Hildegard’s been called “saint.” And, so, some may say, “It’s about time” the Church made this fact official. Perhaps it wouldn’t make a difference if she was officially added to the canon of saints, but there is a certain relief that the Church has settled the cause. It has to be acknowledged that in the 800+ years since Hildegard’s death, her cause for canonization must be one of the higher profile ones around. And for whatever reason Hildegard’s cause wasn’t completed until recently. What we’ve been given by the Tradition is that Hildegard has been known as a saint, her writings, and her many ecclesial contributions are well-regarded. It is also well-known that the Pope has spoken eloquently of Hildegard a few times in the past years; hence he decided to end the ambiguity of her ecclesial status, writing her name “in the album of the saints.” Some would say that Benedict’s gesture rehabilitates Hildegard’s place in Church and state. While that may be an overstatement, he did “do good by her.”

Our newest saint is revered by the Anglo-Catholics, so this is another point of connection with those who hold the Anglican patrimony in high esteem.

You may want to read Nathaniel M. Campbell essay on his blog Fides Quaerens Intellectum.

Some things to read:

Augustine Thompson, OP, “Hildegard of Bingen on Gender and the Priesthood

Dr. Leroy Huizenga’s First Things essay published, Hildegard of Bingen: “Saint of the Universal Church“.

On the image above: Hildegard von Bingen with Richardis von Stade (right) and Volmar (left). Miniature painting, c. 1230; Lucca, Biblioteca Statale

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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