Tag Archives: Benedictine saints and blesseds

St. Gerard Sagredo

O God, who were pleased to give light to your Church by adorning blessed Gerard with the victory of martyrdom, graciously grant that, as he imitated the Lord’s Passion, so we may, by following in his footsteps, be worthy to attain eternal joys. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

St. Gerard Sagredo was an 11th century Italian Benedictine monk and abbot of the Abbey of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice. On pilgrimage in Holy Land, he met St. Stephen, the king of Hungary, who inited him to stay in that country as tutor to his son.

The king appointed Gerard as bishop –likely under pressure– of the newly formed diocese of Csanad. Bishop Gerard evangelized the remote areas of his diocese: he lived Matthew 25. Ora, labora et lectio was the paradigm of his ministry. Gerard was a scholar of sacred Scripture and wrote several treatises, now lost. He was known for his devotion to the Mother of God and one his homilies is the first recorded text of a Marian devotion in Hungary.

In 1046, Gerard was martyr by infidels who wanted his body destroyed by throwing it into the Danube River. The people of Hungary revered Gerard as a martyr and entombed his relics with those of King Stephen and his son, Prince Emeric, in the cathedral in Buda. Canonized in 1083, Gerard was raised to the altar along with St. Stephen and St. Emeric. By 1313, the majority of his relics were transferred to Venice, where they are honored in the church of Our Lady of Murano. St. Gerard Sagredo is celebrated as the proto-martyr of Venice and the Apostle of Hungary and is remembered as the patron saint of tutors.

St. Hildegard of Bingen

St. Hildegard’s Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Fire of the Spirit, life of the lives of creatures,
spiral of sanctity, bond of all natures,
glow of charity, lights of clarity, taste
of sweetness to sinners, be with us and hear us.

Composer of all things, light of all the risen,
key of salvation, release from the dark prison,
hope of all unions, scope of chastities, joy
in the glory, strong honour, be with us and hear us.

St Bernard of Clairvaux

St. Bernard did write great works, to become the character most of insight of his century, but his most fruitful work, the one that still reaches us today, always alive, is his memory of the Mystery that evangelizes us, monastic, with the scent, taste and light of the Beauty of God.

Fr. Mauro-Giuseppe Lepori
General Abbot OCist

Blessed Guerric of Igny

Blessed Guerric of Igny (1070-80 – 1160) is a stellar example of someone who followed in the example of St Bernard of Clairvaux’s ministry of preaching. Abbot Guerric is remembered for his preaching (see the collections of sermons published by Cistercians Publications). He was skilled at the coalescing sacred Scripture and philosophy, taking biblical types and making the application to Christ and Christian discipleship. It is said that Guerric was the medieval preacher of “God’s grace in biblical imagery.”

The intellectual and spiritual formation of Guerric happened first in a cathedral setting as the master of the school, and then in the Clarivaux Abbey. He was in a short time elected the second abbot of the Cistercian community at Igny.

Brethren, it is the command of our gentle and peace-making Master that we should be at peace with one another. Yet before that he says: Have salt in yourselvesHe knows well that peaceful gentleness nourishes vices unless the severity of zeal has first sprinkled them with the sharp taste of salt, just as mild weather causes meat to grow wormy unless the heat of salt has dried it out. Therefore be at peace with one another, but let it be a peace that is seasoned with the salt of wisdom; try to acquire gen­tleness, but let it be a gentleness filled with the warmth of faith. (Blessed Guerric of Igny, Sermo IV in festo S. Benedicti: PL 185,111-112).

The value of knowing Guerric of Igny is first as a Cistercian monastic father, but also as an eloquent preacher of Grace calling us into deeper communio with the Most Blessed Trinity.

St Bernard Tolomei

“God is love… and in the strength of that blessed love
All goods are obtained and everything is shaped by it,
And the man in his midst becomes God.”
~Bernardo Tolomei

On the Benedictine liturgical calendar, the commemoration today is for St. Bernard Tolomei (1272-1348), the Siena born monk who founded what is today is known as the Olivetan Benedictine Congregation. This monastic foundation follows the Holy Rule of St. Benedict and is under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Angels, hence their wearing of a white habit. One tradition of the Olivetans is to fast on Monday to honor the Archangel Michael (the secondary patron of the Congregation). Bernard is recalled as the “hero of penance and martyr of charity.”

St. Bernard Tolomei, teach us the meaning of true penance and charity.

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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