Tag Archives: Benedictine saints and blesseds

Saint Benedict through the eyes of Saint Anselm

c. 1437-1446

Image via Wikipedia

A reading from a sermon by St. Aelred


As today we
celebrate the passing of our holy Father Benedict, I am obliged to say
something about him, especially because I observe that you are eager to listen.
Like good sons you have come together to hear about your Father who, in Christ
Jesus, gave birth to you in the Gospel. Because we know that he has passed
beyond, let us see where he came from and where he has gone.

He came from where
we still are, of course, and he has gone on to that place to which we have not
yet come. And while we are not physically there where he has gone, we are there
in hope and love, as our Redeemer has told us: Where your treasure is, there
also is your heart. Thus the Apostle said: Our dwelling place is in heaven.
Indeed, Saint Benedict himself, while he lived physically in this world, dwelt
in thought and desire in the heavenly Fatherland.
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Saint Scholastica

St Scholastica abbess.jpg

With the Church in her Liturgy we pray to the Lord:
“…we may serve You with love and obtain perfect joy.”

Saint Rabanus Maurus

St Rabanus Maurus.jpgSaint Rabanus (c. 780-4 Feb. 856), a Benedictine monk, theologian, exegete, poet, abbot and archbishop of Mainz, called the “teacher of Germany.” Rabanus studied under Alcuin who gave him the name of “Maurus.” He authored De rerurm naturis (On the Nature of Things), De laudibus sanctae Crucis but he’s most known for his composition of “Veni Creator Spiritus,” the beautiful hymn we sing at Pentecost and any time we pray to the Holy Spirit.

As Pope Benedict XVI reminded us when thinking about Saint Rabanus, he is “an extraordinary awareness of the need to involve not only the mind and heart in the experience of faith, but also the senses.” Rabanus was instructive in showing us how to use the “aesthetic taste and human sensitivity which bring man to benefit from the truth with all of himself: spirit, soul and body.”
For Benedict said, “I believe that Rabanus Maurus also speaks to us today. Whether immersed in the frenetic rhythms of work or on holiday, we must reserve time for God. We must not forget Sunday as the day of the Lord and the day of the liturgy, in order to see –in the beauty of our churches, of sacred music, and of the Word of God– the beauty of God Himself, and allow it to enter own being. Thus our lives become great, they become true life.
Ultimately from Saint Rabanus we learn that “We must search for God in all the dimensions of our being.”
The 2001 Roman Martyrology lists Rabanus as a saint while other sources list him as a blessed. Saint Rabanus is recognized as a holy bishop and scholar, and a confessor of the faith.
Pope Benedict XVI’s General Audience of 3 June 2009 was dedicated to Saint Rabanus.

Saint Meinrad, the Martyr of Christ-like Hospitality

St Meinrad.JPGO God, You made glorious in the martyrdom of the hermit Meinrad. Through his intercession, help me to grow in my love for you and in the devotion of the Blessed Virgin Mary. May I follow his example in the Christ-like hospitality and in single-hearted prayer.

There are very few abbeys in the USA that have enduring monastic presence, life, study, music and the like, that the monks of the Archabbey of Saint Meinrad have given to the Church. As I am an oblate of the Archabbey and friends with some of the monks there, I am short on objectivity with the good work and prayer life of the monks. Pray for the monks of Saint Meinrad.

Saint Gertrude the Great

St Gertrude the Great.jpg

A pivotal figure in our theology of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is Saint Gertrude the Great (1256-1302). She was a nun of the Abbey of Helfta. Saint Gertrude is the only woman on the liturgical calendar to hold the title “the Great.”

Gertrude was an extraordinary student, she learned everything that can be learned of the sciences of the trivium and quadrivium, the education of that time; she was fascinated by knowledge and threw herself into profane studies with zeal and tenacity, achieving scholastic successes beyond every expectation. If we know nothing of her origins, she herself tells us about her youthful passions: literature, music and song and the art of miniature painting captivated her. She had a strong, determined, ready and impulsive temperament. She often says that she was negligent; she recognizes her shortcomings and humbly asks forgiveness for them. She also humbly asks for advice and prayers for her conversion. Some features of her temperament and faults were to accompany her to the end of her life, so as to amaze certain people who wondered why the Lord had favoured her with such a special love.

Gertrude was an extraordinary student, she learned everything that can be learned of the sciences of the trivium and quadrivium, the education of that time; she was fascinated by knowledge and threw herself into profane studies with zeal and tenacity, achieving scholastic successes beyond every expectation. If we know nothing of her origins, she herself tells us about her youthful passions literature, music and song and the art of miniature painting captivated her. She had a strong, determined, ready and impulsive temperament. She often says that she was negligent; she recognizes her shortcomings and humbly asks forgiveness for them. She also humbly asks for advice and prayers for her conversion. Some features of her temperament and faults were to accompany her to the end of her life, so as to amaze certain people who wondered why the Lord had favoured her with such a special love.

She had a vision of a young man who, in order to guide her through the tangle of thorns that surrounded her soul, took her by the hand. In that hand Gertrude recognized “the precious traces of the wounds that abrogated all the acts of accusation of our enemies” (ibid., II, 1, p. 89), and thus recognized the One who saved us with his Blood on the Cross: Jesus.

From that moment her life of intimate communion with the Lord was intensified, especially in the most important liturgical seasons Advent-Christmas, Lent-Easter, the feasts of Our Lady even when illness prevented her from going to the choir. This was the same liturgical humus as that of Matilda, her teacher; but Gertrude describes it with simpler, more linear images, symbols and terms that are more realistic and her references to the Bible, to the Fathers and to the Benedictine world are more direct.

Read the whole of the Pope’s October 6, 2010 address on saint Gertrude the Great.

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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