Tag Archives: Benedictine saints and blesseds

Saint Hildegard of Bingen: adorned with grace


About our sister Saint Hildegard

Saint Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) whom the Church raises up for us is a remarkable woman: deeply committed to seeking God, a friend of the Lord, and a pastor of souls. In her era she lived to almost 80 years, a rare age then and as it echoes the psalmsist. One point of context: Hildegard was born in the year that the Cistercian reform of monasticism was born. She is remembered for being an abbess, a reformer, a theologian, a singer-songwriter, a mystic, a biologist, an environmentalist, and a dialogue partner with world leaders. Are we clear that Saint Hildegard was intelligent and competent?

Today, the Benedictine nuns of an abbey under Saint Hildegard’s patronage continues to thrive in Germany. On another note, Pope Benedict said, in the Wednesday Angelus address (9/17): “I met with men and women from the world of culture, with whom I reflected on the monastic ideal of seeking God–quaerere Deum–as the bedrock of European culture. I wished to emphasize that meditation on the Scriptures opens our minds and hearts to the Logos, God’s Creative Reason in the flesh.”

For those interested in the Mass prayers for today’s memorial:

St Hildegard.jpg


The Spouse of Christ Hildegard, illuminated the Holy Church by the light of her wholesome doctrine. Grace is poured out upon thy lips. Therefore God has blessed thee forever.

Opening Collect

O God,

Who did adorn blessed Hildegard, Thy virgin,

with heavenly gifts; we beseech Thee, grant that following her example and teaching, we may deserve to pass from darkness of this present world into the gladdening light of Thy presence.


Prayer Over the Gifts

Lord, may the gifts we bring You help us follow the example of Saint Hildegard. Cleanse us from our earthly way of life, and teach us to live the new life of your kingdom.

Communion Antiphon

The five sensible virgins took flasks of oil as well as their lamps. At midnight a cry was heard: the bridegroom is here; let us go out to meet Christ the Lord. (Matthew 25:4,6)

Post-Communion Collect

Lord, may our reception of the body and blood of Your Son keep us from harmful things. Help us by the example of Saint Hildegard to grow in Your love on earth that we may rejoice for ever in heaven.

Inflamed with the love of Christ: Saint Bernard of Clairvaulx


Truly it is right and just, our duty and our salvation,

always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
through Christ our Lord.


Christ is the Word
whom Saint Bernard held in the silence of his heart;
Christ is the Bridegroom
whom he desired with all the ardor of his soul;
Christ is the Son of the Virgin Mary
whose sweetness was his comfort and delight.


In the holy abbot Bernard you have given your Church
a teacher in the school of charity,
a prophet burning with the fire of the Holy Spirit,
a poet to sing the praises of the Virgin Mother,
a servant of unity and peace.

Even today, his words fill us with wonder,
inflame us with longing for the wedding of the Lamb,
and inspire us to sing your praise with joy.


Therefore, with the angels and the great company of saints,
we exalt your glory forever.


(Preface of the Mass of Saint Bernard)

Saint Bernard Tolomei

Today in Benedictine monasteries the liturgical memorial observed is that of Blessed

Bernardo Tolomei2.jpgBernard Tolomei (sometimes he is already referred to as a saint but he won’t be canonized by the church later this year). From the region of Siena, Blessed Bernard was the 14th century founder of the Olivetan congregation of Benedictine monks. Bernard and his spiritual sons are known for living a life of solitude and austerity while introducing a new form of monastic observance with a congregation structure (i.e., with an elected abbot general). The Olivetan monks wear white habits in honor of Our Lady and have a special devotion to the Paschal Mystery. The congregation was founded and continues to thrive at the Archabbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore  (or here); congregation is present in the USA at the Abbey of Our Lady of Guadalupe (aka Pecos).


olivetan monk.jpgFamiliarize yourself with Bernard’s influence. The charism and witness of this monastic tradition is manifested in Pope John Paul’s Letter to the Olivetan Benedictines. An Italian artistic and cultural society is fostered in the Bernard Tolomei Foundation.


The Mass collects for today are help for our prayer:



I will give you shepherds after my own heart, and they shall feed you on knowledge and sound teaching. (Jer. 3:15)


Opening Prayer

Lord our God, through blessed abbot Bernard, you enriched Your Church with a new

cross in Rome.jpgform of monastic observance. Strengthened by his help and example, may we gain the good things prepared for those who believe in You. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


Prayer Over the Gifts

Lord, accept these gifts from your people. May the Eucharist we offer to Your glory in honor of Blessed Bernard help us on our way to salvation. Grant this in the name of Jesus the Lord.


Communion antiphon

The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mt. 20:28)


Prayer after Communion

Lord, we receive the bread of heaven as we honor the memory of [Blessed] St. Bernard. May the Eucharist we now celebrate lead us to eternal joys. Grant this in the name of Jesus the Lord.

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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