Tag Archives: Benedictine saints and blesseds

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

Vision of St Bernard with Sts Benedict & John Evan Fra Bartolomeo.jpg

Bernard, the mellifluous Doctor, a friend of the Spouse, wonderful herald of the Virgin Mary, shepherd in this bright vale, did shine brilliantly.
O God, Who did give Thy people blessed Bernard as a minister of eternal salvation, we beseech Thee; grant that we may deserve to have him as an intercessor in heaven, whom we had as a teacher of life on earth.

“Take away free will, and there is nothing left to be saved. Take away grace, and there is no way of saving. Salvation can only be accomplished when both cooperate.”

Saint Benedict (and his 12 degrees of humility)

God our Father, You made Saint Benedict an outstanding guide
to teach men how to live in your service. Grant that be preferring your love to
everything else we may walk in the way of your commandments.

St Benedict a Bohemian artist.jpg

Famous for his work on the 12 degrees of humility, Saint Benedict proposes the following for those who want to advance in the spiritual life. The degrees of humility are given below.

The first degree of humility, then, is that a man always
have the fear of God before his eyes (cf Ps 35[36]:2), shunning all
forgetfulness and that he be ever mindful of all that God hath commanded, that
he always consider in his mind how those who despise God will burn in hell for
their sins, and that life everlasting is prepared for those who fear God. And
whilst he guard himself evermore against sin and vices of thought, word, deed,
and self-will, let him also hasten to cut off the desires of the flesh.

The second degree of humility is, when a man love not his
own will, nor is pleased to fulfill his own desires but by his deeds carried
out that word of the Lord which said: “I came not to do My own will but
the will of Him that sent Me” (Jn 6:38). It is likewise said:
“Self-will hath its punishment, but necessity win the crown.”

The third degree of humility is, that for the love of God a
man subject himself to a Superior in all obedience, imitating the Lord, of whom
the Apostle said: “He became obedient unto death” (Phil 2:8).

The fourth degree of humility is, that, if hard and
distasteful things are commanded, nay, even though injuries are inflicted, he
accept them with patience and even temper, and not grow weary or give up, but
hold out, as the Scripture said: “He that shall persevere unto the end
shall be saved” (Mt 10:22). And again: “Let thy heart take courage,
and wait thou for the Lord” (Ps 26[27]:14).

The fifth degree of humility is, when one hides from his
Abbot none of the evil thoughts which rise in his heart or the evils committed
by him in secret, but humbly confesses them. Concerning this the Scripture
exhorts us, saying: “Reveal thy way to the Lord and trust in Him” (Ps
36[37]:5). And it said further: “Confess to the Lord, for He is good, for
His mercy endures forever” (Ps 105[106]:1; Ps 117[118]:1). And the Prophet
likewise said: “I have acknowledged my sin to Thee and my injustice I have
not concealed. I said I will confess against myself my injustice to the Lord;
and Thou hast forgiven the wickedness of my sins” (Ps 31[32]:5).

The sixth degree of humility is, when a monk is content with
the meanest and worst of everything, and in all that is enjoined him holds
himself as a bad and worthless workman, saying with the Prophet: “I am
brought to nothing and I knew it not; I am become as a beast before Thee, and I
am always with Thee” (Ps 72[73]:22-23).

The seventh degree of humility is, when, not only with his
tongue he declares, but also in his inmost soul believeth, that he is the
lowest and vilest of men, humbling himself and saying with the Prophet:
“But I am a worm and no man, the reproach of men and the outcast of the
people” (Ps 21[22]:7).

The eighth degree of humility is, when a monk doeth nothing
but what is sanctioned by the common rule of the monastery and the example of
his elders.

The ninth degree of humility is, when a monk withholds his
tongue from speaking, and keeping silence doth not speak until he is asked; for
the Scripture shows that “in a multitude of words there shall not want
sin” (Prov 10:19); and that “a man full of tongue is not established
in the earth” (Ps 139[140]:12).

The tenth degree of humility is, when a monk is not easily
moved and quick for laughter, for it is written: “The fool exalts his
voice in laughter” (Sir 21:23).

The eleventh degree of humility is, that, when a monk speaks,
he speak gently and without laughter, humbly and with gravity, with few and
sensible words, and that he be not loud of voice, as it is written: “The
wise man is known by the fewness of his words.”

The twelfth degree of humility is, when a monk is not only
humble of heart, but always lets it appear also in his whole exterior to all
that see him; namely, at the Work of God, in the garden, on a journey, in the
field, or wherever he may be, sitting, walking, or standing, let him always have
his head bowed down, his eyes fixed on the ground, ever holding himself guilty
of his sins, thinking that he is already standing before the dread judgment
seat of God, and always saying to himself in his heart what the publican in the
Gospel said, with his eyes fixed on the ground: “Lord, I am a sinner and
not worthy to lift up mine eyes to heaven” (Lk 18:13); and again with the
Prophet: “I am bowed down and humbled exceedingly” (Ps 37[38]:7-9; Ps

Saint Alice of Schaerbeek

Saint Alice of Schaerbeek.jpg

Saint Alice of Schaerbeek, a 13th century
Cistercian-Benedictine nun, was known for her intense love of Christ. Since
1702 the Cistercians have been remembering Saint Alice liturgically.

She’s the
patron saint of those living with leprosy, the blind and paralyzed.

Saint Augustine of Canterbury

St Augustine of Canterbury.jpg

O God, Who by the preaching and wondrous deeds of blessed
Augustine, Thy Confessor and Bishop, did vouchsafe to enlighten the English
nation with the light of true faith; grant that his intercession the
  of the erring may return to
the unity of Thy truth, and that we may be one mind in doing Thy holy will.


Saint Augustine of Canterbury (d. 604), was the first bishop
of Canterbury, sent by Pope Saint Gregory the Great to evangelize the pagan
English peoples.

Saint Augustine had been a monk of Saint Gregory’s monastery
on the Caelian Hill in Rome. In 595/596  he was sent to England first as the abbot of a group of
monks. He established himself at Canterbury, the capital of the then powerful
Kingdom of Kent, and in time baptized King Ethelbert.

Augustine is credited for laying the very foundation of the Ecclesia Anglicana because of his pastoral vision. That he was a close associate to Gregory the Great one thinks that the friendship had some role in the former’s zeal for the Kingdom. Augustine’s method of evangelizing England was not notable: he sent missionaries to all parts of England –how else would you preach the Gospel. But what was notable was his establishing Benedictine monastic life there, especially adjacent to the cathedral. So, looking at English ecclesial life you will notice the pattern of cathedrals have abbeys attached to them.

Saint Bede the Venerable

O God, Who has glorified Thy Church by the learning of
blessed Bede, Thy Confessor and Doctor; mercifully grant to Thy servants that
they may ever be enlightened by his wisdom and aided by his merits.

Catholics in America are generally unfamiliar with Saint
Bede the Venerable. The Venerable Bede as he is often called, is rightly known as the “Father of English
History” and his lasting work, History of the English Church and People,
remains the basis of modern knowledge of the early period of the Church in
England. Church has honored Bede with the titles of Confessor and Doctor of the

St Bede.jpg

Bede’s History is a decisive synthesis of the Celtic,
Gregorian and ‘Benedictine’ heritage.

The medieval scholar Mary R. Price said: ‘Under Bede’s
eyes, as he toiled away in his cell,the divided peoples of the “island
lying in the sea” were being welded into a nation, and through his
eyes and by his pen we can see this happening. We see also the fusion of the
free-lance monasticism of the Celtic monks with the more regular
discipline of the Benedictine rule, of the Celtic Church with the

Another scholar who knows Bede’s work well says: ‘The
centuries on which Bede concentrates are a crucial and formative period
in our island history, during which the future shape and pattern of the
English Church and nation were beginning to emerge.’

The Church universal is grateful for Bede’s interpretative
and synthesizing work that these key formative centuries are coherent and present to us as they give us a light on the form, life and significance without

The rigorous approach to the facts of history in his
narration is widely acknowledged. He explicitly offers his own
theological interpretation of the history he is treating, and clearly offers
a monastic reading ecclesial history in the light of salvation history.
But what else would you expect of a monk?

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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