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St Bernard Tolomei

“God is love… and in the strength of that blessed love
All goods are obtained and everything is shaped by it,
And the man in his midst becomes God.”
~Bernardo Tolomei

On the Benedictine liturgical calendar, the commemoration today is for St. Bernard Tolomei (1272-1348), the Siena born monk who founded what is today is known as the Olivetan Benedictine Congregation. This monastic foundation follows the Holy Rule of St. Benedict and is under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Angels, hence their wearing of a white habit. One tradition of the Olivetans is to fast on Monday to honor the Archangel Michael (the secondary patron of the Congregation). Bernard is recalled as the “hero of penance and martyr of charity.”

St. Bernard Tolomei, teach us the meaning of true penance and charity.

Saint Bernard Tolomei

Bernardo Tolomei (1272-1348).jpgAn obscure Benedictine saint is liturgically honored by the Church today. Saint Bernard Tolomei, (1272-1348) the founder of the Benedictine Congregation of the Blessed Virgin of Monte Oliveto  (near Siena) in 1319. He was beatified in 1644 but not canonized until 2009, though he was revered as a saint for a long time before Pope Benedict canonized him.

The Olivetan monks have an intense devotion to the Virgin Mary due to the founder’s attribution to the healing of his blindness by the intercession of the Virgin; their life has been one of penance and silence. Hence, Saint Bernard is called the “hero of penance and martyr of charity.” And this is our desire today.
Saint Bernard Tolomei’s brief biography can be read here and a set of photos can be viewed 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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