Tag Archives: Benedictine saints and blesseds

Blessed Ildefonso Schuster, OSB

Schuster1The Benedictine monk, abbot, bishop and Cardinal is honored on this date: Blessed Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster. As a Roman by birth, he was a professed Benedictine monk and later abbot of the Abbey of Saint Paul outside the Walls (Rome). He was a liturgical scholar and professor at Sant’Anselmo.

“The Church’s Liturgy may…be considered as a sacred poem, in the framing of which both heaven and earth have taken part, and by which our humanity, redeemed in the blood of the Lamb without spot, rises on the wings of the Spirit even unto the throne of God himself. This is more than a mere aspiration, for the Sacred Liturgy not only shows forth and expresses the ineffable and the divine, but also, by means of the sacraments and of its forms of prayer, develops and fulfils the supernatural in the souls of the faithful, to whom it communicates the grace of redemption. It may even be said that the very source of holiness of the Church is fully contained in her Liturgy; for, without the holy sacraments, the Passion of our Lord, in the existing dispensation instituted by almighty God, we would have no efficacy in us, since there would be no channels capable of conveying its treasure to our souls.”

ldefonso Schuster, The Sacramentary, vol. I (Burns, Oates & Washbourne, London, 1923) p. 3.

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

BernardSaint Bernard of Clairvaux composed the famous prayer to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary known as The Memorare. This year is Bernard’s 900th anniversary!

MEMORARE, O piissima Virgo Maria, non esse auditum a saeculo, quemquam ad tua currentem praesidia, tua implorantem auxilia, tua petentem suffragia, esse derelictum. Ego tali animatus confidentia, ad te, Virgo Virginum, Mater, curro, ad te venio, coram te gemens peccator assisto. Noli, Mater Verbi, verba mea despicere; sed audi propitia et exaudi. Amen.

REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

St Benedict

BVM Ss Benedict and ScholasticaToday, the Church honors Saint Benedict (the Translation of the Relics, not the Transitus which is celebrated in March), Patron of Europe. Those over at the Miraculous Medal apostolate have proposed this prayer to Benedict. Every Benedictine monk, nun, sister and oblate has a sincere devotion the Blessed Mother.

Dear Saint Benedict, You are a ‘blessing’ indeed, as your name indicates. Practicing what you preached, you founded the monastic tradition of the West by joining prayer to labor for God – both liturgical and private prayer. Help all religious to follow their Rule and be true to their vocation. May they labor and pay for the world to the greater glory of God.

God our Father, You made St. Benedict an outstanding guide to teach men how to live in Your service. Grant that by preferring Your love to everything else, we may walk in the  way of Your commandments. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

Saint Bede, the Venerable

We honor the memory of a venerable Benedictine monk and Churchman, Saint Bede. He is the only English Doctor of the Church and a fine example of monastic learning and holiness. Most people relate to him as the historian of the English Church because of his famous work, Historia Ecclesiastica. 

Christ was his King. No other lord
Did Bede aspire to serve.
No other love could claim the heart
He gave without reserve.

From boyhood onward his delight
Was in the scriptures found,
Or singing praise to him who hung
Upon the Rood, thorn-crowned.

Like Easter night, Bede’s quiet cell
Saw Christ arising there;
And when Ascension dawned at last
The Son shone bright and fair.

To Christ the King of glory sing,
And God the Father praise,
Whose Spirit dwells in peaceful hearts
And guides them in his ways.

The text is an ancient monastic hymn. It was translated by Dame Catherine of Holy Trinity Monastery, Herefordshire, UK.

Saint Benedict

Death of St BenedictSaint Benedict, [the Father of Western Monasticism (480-543)] blessed by grace as his prophetic name seemed to foretell, was born of a noble Italian family in Umbria, in the year 480. As a boy he showed great inclination for virtue, and maturity in his actions. He was sent to Rome at the age of seven, to be placed in the public schools. At the age of fourteen, alarmed by the licentiousness of the Roman youth, he fled to the desert mountains of Subiaco, forty miles from Rome, and was directed by the Holy Spirit into a deep, craggy, and almost inaccessible cave, since known as the Holy Grotto. He lived there for three years, unknown to anyone save a holy monk named Romanus, who clothed him with the monastic habit and brought him food.

He was eventually discovered, when, one Easter day, God advised a priest who lived about four miles from there, to take food to His servant, who was starving. The priest searched in the hills and finally found the solitary, and they took their meal together. Some shepherds also knew of his retreat, and soon the fame of this hermit’s sanctity began to spread. The demon persecuted him, but to no avail; when a temptation of the flesh assailed him, he rolled in a clump of thorns and nettles, and came out of it covered with blood but sound in spirit.

Disciples came to him, and under his direction, numerous monasteries were founded. The rigor of the rule he drew up, however, brought upon him the hatred of some of the monks, and one of them mixed poison with the Abbot’s drink. When the Saint made the sign of the cross on the poisoned bowl, it broke and fell in pieces to the ground.

Saint Benedict resurrected a boy whose father pleaded for that miracle, saying Give me back my son! He replied, Such miracles are not for us to work, but for the blessed apostles! Why will you lay upon me a burden which my weakness cannot bear? But finally, moved by compassion, he prostrated himself upon the body of the child, and prayed: Behold not, O Lord, my sins, but the faith of this man, and restore the soul which Thou hast taken away! And the child rose up, and walked to the waiting arms of his father. When a monk lost the iron head of his axe in a river, the Abbot told him to throw the handle in after it, and it rose from the river bed to resume its former place.

Six days before his death, Saint Benedict ordered his grave to be prepared, then fell ill of a fever. On the sixth day he asked to be carried to the chapel, and, having received the sacred Body and Blood of Christ, with hands uplifted and leaning on one of his disciples, he calmly expired in prayer, on the 21st of March, 543.

Reflection. The Saints never feared to undertake any work for God, however arduous, because distrusting self they relied for assistance and support wholly upon prayer.

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); Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 3

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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