Tag Archives: Benedictine saints and blesseds

Saint Gertrude the Great

S Gertrude helfta.jpg

One a few saints with the title “the Great” Saint Gertrude (1256-1301/2) is clearly a woman with a mission. Given by her parents to the Benedictine monastery at Hefta (some say it was a Cistercian house), a monastery known for its learning and saint-making, Gertrude excelled in her studies. One day, around the age 24, she realized that the excellence she had in secular learning was not what she needed, in fact, she considered this way of living vain, and therefore she was called to do by the Lord: to live singularly for Him. Was it earthy wisdom that saved, or heavenly wisdom? She began to change her modus operandi and followed the advice of the Apostle to be totally concerned with heavenly wisdom. 
Before it was a popular devotion, Saint Gertrude was known for her devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Eucharist.
Saint Gertrude’s extant writing includes “The Herald of Divine Love,” The Life and Revelations,” and the “Spiritual Exercises.”
May Saint Gertrude’s greatness inspire us to live more intensely for a deeper communion with the Lord, in this life so as to be with Him in the next.
“My heart has said of you, I have sought your presence Lord. 
It is your face, O Lord, that I seek.”

Blessed Maria Luisa Prosperi

Maria Luisa ProsperiToday, the Church beatified the Venerable Servant of God Maria Luisa (nee Gertrude Prosperi; 1799-1847), a former Abbess of the Benedictine Abbey in Trevi in what is now known as the Diocese of Spoleto-Norcia (Italy). Her name is now added to the long list of Benedictine saints and blesseds.

Cardinal Angelo Amato, SDB, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints pronounced the papal decree of beatification. His homily may be read in Italian here.

What can we learn from Maria Luisa Prosperi?

Our new blessed was devoted to the Most Blessed Sacrament, the contemplation of the cross with a profound and exemplary love for the infinite mercy of God and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is Benedict XVI who tells us to recognize in Abbess Maria Luisa a singular love for the Lord’s Passion. Maria Luisa was known as a “woman in love with God.”

Blessed Maria Luisa’s liturgical memorial will be 12 September.

Blessed Maria Luisa was born on 15 August 1779 and died on 12 September 1847. She became a Benedictine nun of the Monastery of Saint Lucy in 1820 in a monastery founded in 1844.

Saint Hildegard of Bingen

Hildergard von Bingen Dormition Abbey.jpgO Lord, you were generous with your gifts of grace to the virgin Hildegard. By following closely her example and teaching, may we pass from the darkness of this life into your marvelous light.

Saint Hildegard (1098-1179) was a Benedictine of great learning ( a true polymath), a holy woman who was known for her visions, prophesies, poetry and spiritual guidance. Some have likened her to Dante and William Blake. She was given the title of the Sibyl of the Rhine. Since the 15th century Hildegard’s name was in the Roman Martyrology but was not officially canonized. On May 10, 2012 Pope Benedict XVI gave the entire Church the liturgical memory of Saint Hildegard (the equivalent of canonizing her); the Pope stated that on October 7, 2012 he will name the Saint a Doctor of the Church.

We pray for the Benedictine Congress in Rome that begins today and goes until the 25th through the intercession of Saint Hildegard.

Saint Gregory the Great

St Gregory the Great statue, Portsmouth.jpegBlessed Gregory, raised upon the throne of Peter, sought always the beauty of the Lord and lived in celebration of that love.

O God, who care for the your people with gentleness and rule them in love, though the intercession of Pope Saint Gregory, endow, we pray, with a spirit of wisdom those to whom you have given authority to govern, that the flourishing of a holy flock may become the eternal joy of the shepherds.

Let us pray for the Pope, Benedict XVI and his ministry as pastor. Likewise, I would like to remember in prayer the monks of Portsmouth Abbey who live under the patronage of Saint Gregory the Great.
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Blessed Ildefonso Schuster

Bl Idelfonso Schuster, card.jpg

Almighty God, who through your grace, the Blessed Alfredo Ildefonso, by his exemplary virtue built up the flock entrusted to him, grant that we, under the guidance of the Gospel may follow his teaching and walk in sureness of life, until we come to see you face to face in your eternal Kingdom.

Today we honor the Church honors a great 20th century Benedictine monk, priest, bishop and cardinal, Blessed Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster. He died on this date in 1954. At the time of his death he was the cardinal-archbishop of Milan.

Blessed Ildefonso is one of my great Benedictine heros. He’s known for promoting catechetics and the role of the laity in life of the Church in a time prior to it becoming a “normal” thing. Moreover, he diligently looked after the poor, denounced the totalitarian thinking of Facism, Nazism and racism, proposed models of holiness for all people –not just the clerical elite– and he lived the sacred Liturgy and founded the Institute of Ambrosian Chant and Sacred Music.
When the process of beatification came to a certain point, church officials opened Cardinal Schuster’s tomb and found his body to be incorruptible. A more certain sign of holiness. He was announced as a Venerable Servant of God on March 26, 1994 and beatified by Blessed John Paul II on May 12, 1996.
For more info, see his birthday post and another post on his feast day.
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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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