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Saint of the Day: St. Anselm of Canterbury

Honored as Doctor Magnificus—"The Magnificent Doctor”

SAINT ANSELM

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Bishop and Doctor of the Church (1033-1109)

His life

+ Anselm was born in the Piedmont region of Italy. When he was 27, he entered the English Benedictine abbey of Bec (in Normandy), becoming the community’s abbot in 1078.

+ As abbot, Anselm was beloved as a preacher and reformer. In 1093, he succeeded his former teacher, Lanfranc, as archbishop of Canterbury.

+ Shortly after his episcopal consecration, Anselm came into conflict with King William Rufus, whose unjust policies forced Anselm to leave England. After traveling to the great abbey at Cluny and to Rome, he returned to England only after learning of the king’s death.

+ Conflicts with the new king forced Anselm to flee to Rome. Pope Paschal II defended Anselm’s claims to authority over the English church. He returned to Canterbury in 1106 and died there on April 21, 1109.

+ Known as a man of recollection and learning, Anselm’s writings have had a profound impact on Catholic thought and he is honored as the “Father of Scholasticism.”

+ Especially remembered for his Prosologion, the treatise Cur Deus Homo, and his ontological argument for the existence of God, Anselm was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1720.

For prayer and reflection

“may the love of the truth and the constant thirst for God that marked St Anselm’s entire existence be an incentive to every Christian to seek tirelessly an ever more intimate union with Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life. In addition, may the zeal full of courage that distinguished his pastoral action and occasionally brought him misunderstanding, sorrow and even exile be an encouragement for Pastors, for consecrated people and for all the faithful to love Christ’s Church, to pray, to work and to suffer for her, without ever abandoning or betraying her.”—Pope Benedict XVI

Spiritual bonus

On this day, the people of Morelia, Mexico, honored the Christ Child under the title Santo Niño de la Salud (“Holy Child of Good Health”). The miraculous image was discovered in 1939 and veneration to Christ under this title was approved by archbishop and the image was solemnly crowned in 1944. A religious community—The Missionaries of the Holy Infant of Good Health—were founded in Morelia in 1970 and currently serve in Mexico, the United States, and Italy.

Prayer

O God, who led the Bishop Saint Anselm
to seek out and teach the depths of your wisdom,
grant, we pray,
that our faith in you may so aid our understanding,
that what we believe by your command
may give delight to our hearts.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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