+ Aelred was born at Hexham in Northumbria and received an education in letters and the humanism of the period. Sent to the court of the Scottish king, Saint David, he won the king’s confidence and friendship and ultimately became High Steward of the Royal Household.
+ In 1134, Aelred entered the Cistercian Monastery at Rievaulx.
+ He held various positions of trust in his monastery and, in 1143, he was named Abbot of Revesby. Four years later, he returned to Rievaulx to serve as abbot.
+ A scholar of some renown, he composed commentaries on Scripture and seven works of history, three of which were addressed to King Henry II of England, advising him on how to be a good king. His most famous works are the Speculum caritatis (“The Mirror of Charity”) and De spiritali amicitial (“On Spiritual Friendship”).
+ Known throughout the country for his holiness and prudence, Saint Aelred died in the year 1167.
For prayer and reflection
“Friendship is that virtue by which spirits are bound by ties of love and sweetness and out of many are made one.”—Saint Aelred of Rievaulx
On this day we also remember Blessed Nicholas Bunkerd Kitbamrung. A native-born priest from Thailand, he served as a pastor in Thai parishes and as a missionary in Vietnam. In 1941, as tensions were mounting between the French colonials and the anti-French Viet Minh (this would eventually lead to the Indochina War), Nicholas was arrested and accused of being a spy for the French. Sentenced to ten years in prison, Nicholas contracted tuberculosis which, combined with the harsh conditions in the prison, led to his death on January 12, 1944. It was later revealed that he spent those years in prison still serving as a missionary among his fellow prisoners, baptizing at least 68 inmates. Blessed Nicholas Bunkerd Kitbamrung was beatified in 2000 and is honored as the first martyr-priest of Thailand.
God our Father,
You gave the blessed abbot Aelred
the grace of being all things to all people.
May we, after his example,
so spend ourselves in the service of our brothers and sisters
as to preserve the unity of the spirit
in the bond of peace.
We ask this through our Lord, Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from the Proper of Saints of the Cistercian Calendar)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.