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Saturday 04 February |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Rabanus Maurus
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And today we celebrate...Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day: Anthony of Egypt

Father of Western Monasticism

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Abbot (ca. 201-306)

His life

+ Anthony was born in Upper Egypt. After the death of his parents, he divided up his inheritance and possessions and journeyed into the desert, desiring to seek and serve God in solitude.

+ Anthony lived as a hermit for many years, practicing heroic penances and devoting himself to silence, prayer, and manual labor.

+ After nearly twenty years of seclusion, trials, and temptations, word of his sanctity began to spread and hundreds of other men began to build a community of hermits around Anthony.

+ To guide the community, Anthony would give instruction to the hermits and eventually wrote a rule of life for them. In 305, he established another community of hermits at Fayum and, later, another at Pispir.

+ In the years before Anthony died, Saint Athanasius of Alexandria wrote an account of the hermit’s life. This book greatly contributed to Anthony’s popularity and helped promote the monastic movement within the early Church.

+ Saint Anthony, who is known as “the Great” in the Eastern Church, died in 306 at 105 years of age. Throughout the centuries, he has been honored as the patron saint of hermits, gravediggers (because he spent several years living in an abandoned tomb), and pig farmers.

For prayer and reflection

He kept a careful watch over himself and practiced great austerity. He did manual work because he had heard the words: If anyone will not work, do not let him eat. He spent some of his earnings on bread and the rest he gave to the poor. Having learned that we should always be praying, even when we are by ourselves, he prayed without ceasing. Indeed, he was so attentive when Scripture was read that nothing escaped him and because he retained all he heard, his memory served him in place of books.”—Saint Athanasius, Life of Saint Anthony

Spiritual bonus

On this day we also remember Saints Antony and Merulus of Rome. These who monks were members of the Monastery of St. Andrew on Rome’s Caelian Hill. Saint Gregory the Great (who had founded the monastery on his family’s estates) wrote about these two holy men in his Dialogues. Saints Antony and Merulus died around the year 590.

Prayer

O God, who brought the Abbot Saint Anthony
to serve you by a wondrous way of life in the desert,
grant, through his intercession,
that, denying ourselves,
we may always love you above all things.
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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