Tag Archives: Benedictine saints and blesseds

Saint Mechtild (of Magdeburg)

Mechthild von Helfta.jpg

“Then shall I leap into love”

I cannot dance, Lord, unless you
lead me.

If you want me to leap with abandon,

You must intone the song.

Then I
shall leap into love, From love into knowledge,

From knowledge into enjoyment,

And from enjoyment beyond all
human sensations.

There I want to remain, yet want also to circle higher still.

According to some scholars, this Cistercian-Benedictine nun and poet, theologian and mystic was the inspiration of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Interesting that her liturgical memorial comes at the end of the liturgical calendar given her visions of heaven, hell and purgatory! Some people register a doubt about her status as a canonized saint in the Church but she is remembered in the Roman Martyrology (2004) and venerated as such by many, including the Cistercian-Benedictines and that’s good enough for me. The Martyrology speaks of Saint Mechtild as a woman of exquiste doctrine and humility, and supernatural gifts of mystical contemplation.

The prayer for Saint Mechtild may be found here and her biography here.

Saint Gertrude the Great

St.Gertrude-colonial-700px.jpgAs the Church prays:

O Lord, You loved to dwell in the pure heart of Your virgin Gertrude. Through her merits and prayers please wash away the stains from our hearts so that they, too, may become worthy dwelling places for Your divine Majesty.

Even though Saint Gertrude is little known in the US, her optional memorial is observed today; in Germany her feast day is November 17th. Saint Gertrude is one of the few saints with the title “the great” as she is most known for making the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus available to us. She, there is a precursor to Saint Margaret Mary and Saint Faustina. Saint Gertrude also wrote a method of prayer called the Spiritual Exercises. More on Saint Gertrude can be read here and here.

All Saints of the Benedictine Order

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Blessed shall you be when men hate you, and when they shut you out, and reproach you, and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice on that day and exult, for behold your reward is great in heaven.

We beseech Thee, O Lord, grant that the example of the holy Monks [and nuns] may stir us to a better life, so that we may imitate the actions of those whose solemnity we celebrate.

Saint Wilfrid

St Wilfrid.jpg

O God, by Whose grace blessed Wilfrid Thy Bishop did shine with such evident signs of holiness: grant, we beseech Thee, that we may ever be defended by his protection as by his teaching we have been taught to desire heavenly things.


The 7th century Benedictine saint, Wilfrid, who was abbot of his community, elected of bishop of York and who was a wildly talented man and influential is commemorated today. While relatively unknown in this part of the world, he is well-known in England because his tireless zeal for God’s Kingdom. He is credited for acquiring land, building monasteries and churches, patronage of secular and sacred art, and for moving the Church in England from an independent Church to one more obedient to the authority of Rome. The veneration of Wilfrid ought not to be forgotten. Today, let us pray for the Church in England, including the bishops and Benedictines there. Regarding the Benedictines, I am particularly thinking of the monks of Ampleforth, Douai, and Downside Abbeys and the nuns at Stanbrook and Tyburn.

Blessed Columba Marmion


Marmion2.jpg

God, our Father, you called your servant, Columba, to the
monastic life. You bestowed on him the grace to understand the mysteries of
your Son and to make him known as the ideal for all who have been baptized.
Grant that we may learn from his example to live in Christ by opening our
hearts in joy to the Spirit of your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with
you and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Church observes
the feast of Blessed Columba Marmion today. He was an Irishman who became a monk in Belgium,
a diocesan priest who fell in love with the Benedictine way life, its emphasis on seeking God and who served as abbot. Dom Columba died on January
30, 1923. Marmion’s liturgical memorial, however, is observed not on his anniversary
of death but on the anniversary of receiving the abbatial blessing, October 3,
1909. At that time the first Sunday of October was the Solemnity of the Most Holy Rosary
of the Blessed Virgin Mary; in this era the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is
observed on October 7th.

Two pieces to reflect up on…

The
whole of the Christian life consists in carrying Christ to birth within us and
in having Him live there’. This, of course is nothing more than a paraphrase of St. Paul’s
injunction in Gal. 4:19: ‘until Christ is formed in you’. For Marmion this is not just our
final goal, it is our daily, essential task:  to form Christ within us, through the Graces of the
sacraments and our daily encounter with God in prayer. (Mark Tierney O.S.B,
“The Life and Times of Columba Marmion”)

And

… Revelation teaches us that there is
an ineffable paternity in God. God is a Father: that is the fundamental dogma
which all the others suppose, a magnificent dogma which leaves the reason
confounded, but ravishes faith with delight and transports holy souls. God is a
Father. Eternally, long before the created light rose upon the world, God
begets a Son to whom He communicates His nature
, His perfections, His beatitude
His life, to beget is to communicate [By the gift of a similar nature ] being
and life. You are My Son this day have I begotten You [Ps 2:7; Heb 1:5; 5:5],
from the womb before the day – star, I begot you [Ps 110:3]. In God, then, is
life, life communicated by the Father … Creatures can only lisp when they
speak of such mysteries… the Father, and the Son, with one same and indivisible
Divine Nature, and both, although distinct from one another [on account of
their personal properties, ‘of being Father’ and ‘of being Son’] are united in
a powerful, substantial embrace of love, whence proceeds that Third Person, Whom
Revelation calls by a mysterious name: the Holy Ghost
.

Such is as far as faith
can know it, the secret of the inmost life of God; the fullness and the
fruitfulness of this life are the source of the incommensurable bliss that the
ineffable Society of the three Divine Persons possesses.

And now God – not in
order to add to His plenitude, but by it to enrich other beings – exceeds, as
it were, His Paternity. God decrees to call creatures to share this Divine
life
, so transcendent that God alone has the right to live it, this eternal
life communicated by the Father to the Only Son, and by them, to the Holy
Spirit … To these mere creatures God will give the condition and sweet name
of children
. By nature, God has only one Son; by love, He wills to have an innumerable
multitude: that is the grace of supernatural Adoption. (Dom Columba Marmion,
OSB, Spiritual Writings.  Ed. P.
Lethiellex. Maredesous Abbey, 1998.)

A very brief note on the canonization
process of Dom Columba can be read here

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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