Tag Archives: Benedictine saints and blesseds

Mother Marie-Adele Garnier canonization prayer

Marie Adele GarnierOn the Communio blog I love to portray the witnesses of holiness, those canonized and beatified already, and those in process. One such person in process for study is the Benedictine nun Mother Marie-Adèle Garnier (1838-1924), the foundress of the Adorers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  In the monastery Garnier was known as Mother Mary of St. Peter. The aim of this Benedictine Congregation is to glorify the Most Blessed Trinity. Today is the anniversary of her transitus.

Mother Marie-Adèle’s cause has been introduced for study about a possible canonization. Blessed Columba Marmion wrote to one of her spiritual daughters, saying, “The special characteristic of your Mother is heroic confidence in the midst of impossibilities.” With this in mind, let us together pray for this favor.

Father, all powerful and ever living God, we give you glory, praise and thanks for the life and virtue of your beloved daughter, Marie-Adèle Garnier.

Filled with the riches of your grace and preferring mother to the love of the Heart of Jesus Christ, she devoted her whole life to the adoration, praise and glory of your Name; she sacrificed herself by prayer and penance for the unity and holiness of your Church; she loved her neighbor with a charity full of humility and compassion.

Above all, she found the Sun of her life in the Holy Mass, and so was consumed with zeal for liturgical worship and Eucharistic adoration, and abandoned herself with all her heart to your most Holy Will in all things.

In your mercy Lord, hearken to our prayer: “Glorify Your Servant, Mother Marie-Adèle Garnier, that Your Servant may glorify you.”

We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God, world without end. Amen.

Benedictine sainthood cause advances

BERNARDO DE VASCONCELOSToday, 14 June, Pope Francis received in a private audience Angelo Cardinal Amato, S.D.B., Prefect of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints. In the course of the audience with the Holy Father, he authorized the Congregation to promulgate the decrees regarding…
 
…the heroic virtue of the Servant of God Bernard of the Annunciation (in history: Bernardo de Vasconcelos) a professed monk of the Order of Saint Benedict; born 7 July 1902 and died 4 July 1932.
 
He was a monk of Singeverga monastery. He died from spinal tuberculosis.
 
Brother Bernard will now carry the title of Venerable Servant of God
Bernardo de Vasconcelos.
 
Let us pray that our new Venerable will be raised the to the altar.

Saint Dunstan

St Dunstan, Westminister LLewAlso on this date, the Benedictines recall the holy life of Saint Dunstan. Today’s Benedictine saint is very much revered by the Catholics of England –read up on him here.

“St Dunstan, as the story goes,
Once pull’d the devil by the nose
With red-hot tongs, which made him roar,
That he was heard three miles or more.”

(The Every-Day Book)

image by Fr Lawrence Lew, OP

Blessed Alcuin

St Alcuin

The Benedictines remember today Blessed Alcuin of York who was born c. 735; died at Saint Martin’s in Tours, France, May 19, 804. Due to his education and experience in certain human matters, when Alcuin Charlemagne he impressed the emperor so much that he became his adviser. Alcuin was appointed abbot of Saint Martin’s Abbey at Tours (France) in 796 by Charlemagne. At Tours, with Saint Benedict of Aniane, he restored the monastic observance.

Toward the end of his life Alcuin said this of his own career with a rather beautiful description:

In the morning, at the height of my powers, I sowed the seed in Britain, now in the evening when my blood is growing cold I am still sowing in France, hoping both will grow, by the grace of God, giving some the honey of the holy scriptures, making others drunk on the old wine of ancient learning…

Saint Anselm

St AnselmThe Church, in particular the Benedictines, liturgically remember the great Saint Anselm, monk and Archbishop of Canterbury (1034-1109). He is known for his writings on the existence of God and the meaning of Christ’s atonement on the cross. Many outside of the world of theology and monasticism would not really know of Anselm in any significant way. In short, we can say that he was “a monk with an intense spiritual life, an excellent teacher of the young, a theologian with an extraordinary capacity for speculation, a wise man of governance and an intransigent defender of the Church’s freedom…. [and he is] one of the eminent figures of the Middle Ages who was able to harmonize all these qualities, thanks to the profound mystical experience that always guided his thought and his action” (Pope Benedict XVI, Sept. 23, 2009). So, his monastic formation speaks clearly and forcefully than his ability to engage in secular or religious politics. In 1720, Pope Clement XI names Saint Anselm a Doctor of the Church.

I think the reflections of Dame Catherine –the Digitalnun– gives me (and hopefully you) a keen sense of why Anselm is relevant for us today: that being a person of intense prayer forms and informs all things for God’s greater glory. You can be gifted in many ways but knowing the Lord through prayer and sacrament is the only way to lead the Christian life. Everything else is secondary. This is what Sister Catherine said today:

For Anselm, as for many before and since, the whole venture of faith implies a connectedness, a rootedness in Christian tradition. Professor Denys Turner, one of the most perceptive of contemporary writers, argued very persuasively in the last chapter of his The Darkness of God: Negativity in Christian Mysticism that what so many now think of as ‘an experience of God’ had a wider meaning in former times. I think Anselm would have agreed that it is a phenomenon rooted in prayer, both public and private, in liturgy, in the sacramental worship of the Church and in theological reflection and exploration — moments of perception, of affirmation and negation, intended for the whole Church, not some specially privileged part of it. That is why the concept of sentire cum ecclesia, of thinking with the Church, is so essential.

Learning to think with the Church requires effort and self-discipline, finding out rather than simply opining. It is an activity rooted in prayer but calling for hard work, too. St Anselm was a great theologian because he was a man of prayer but also because he read — widely, attentively, thoughtfully — and because he put what he read and prayed into practice. We are not all called to be monastics, but shouldn’t every Christian be, to some degree, a theologian?

A brief biography is helpful

Saint Anselm was a native of Piedmont. When as a boy of fifteen he was forbidden to enter religion after the death of his good Christian mother, for a time he lost the fervor she had imparted to him. He left home and went to study in various schools in France; at length his vocation revived, and he became a monk at Bec in Normandy, where he had been studying under the renowned Abbot Lanfranc.

The fame of his sanctity in this cloister led King William Rufus of England, when dangerously ill, to take him for his confessor and afterwards to name him to the vacant see of Canterbury to replace his own former master, Lanfranc, who had been appointed there before him. He was consecrated in December, 1093. Then began the strife which characterized Saint Anselm’s episcopate. The king, when restored to health, lapsed into his former sins, continued to plunder the Church lands, scorned the archbishop’s rebukes, and forbade him to go to Rome for the pallium.

Finally the king sent envoys to Rome for the pallium; a legate returned with them to England, bearing it. The Archbishop received the pallium not from the king’s hand, as William would have required, but from that of the papal legate. For Saint Anselm’s defense of the Pope’s supremacy in a Council at Rockingham, called in March of 1095, the worldly prelates did not scruple to call him a traitor. The Saint rose, and with calm dignity exclaimed, If any man pretends that I violate my faith to my king because I will not reject the authority of the Holy See of Rome, let him stand, and in the name of God I will answer him as I ought. No one took up the challenge; and to the disappointment of the king, the barons sided with the Saint, for they respected his courage and saw that his cause was their own. During a time he spent in Rome and France, canons were passed in Rome against the practice of lay investiture, and a decree of excommunication was issued against offenders.

When William Rufus died, another strife began with William’s successor, Henry I. This sovereign claimed the right of investing prelates with the ring and crozier, symbols of the spiritual jurisdiction which belongs to the Church alone. Rather than yield, the archbishop went into exile, until at last the king was obliged to submit to the aging but inflexible prelate.

In the midst of his harassing cares, Saint Anselm found time for writings which have made him celebrated as the father of scholastic theology, while in metaphysics and in science he had few equals. He is yet more famous for his devotion to our Blessed Mother, whose Feast of the Immaculate Conception he was the first to establish in the West. He died in 1109.

Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).

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.
coat of arms

Categories

Archives

Humanities Blog Directory