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Saint Adrian of Canterbury

Model of humility who recommended another for a powerful post


Sugar's Memorial Hall of Saints and Hope / Facebook

Benedictine Abbot – (d. 710)

His life

+ According to Saint Bede the Venerable, Adrian was born in North Africa and was serving as abbot of a monastery near Naples, Italy, when Pope Saint Vitalian requested that Adrian accept the office of Archbishop of Canterbury, recognizing him as the person best suited for the post.

+ Adrian did not feel worthy of this honor and suggested that Theodore (now honored “Saint Theodore of Canterbury”) go in his place. The pope agreed, but sent Adrian to serve as assistant to the new archbishop.

+ Upon arriving in England, Adrian was named abbot of Canterbury’s Monastery of Ss. Peter and Paul. Under his rule, the monastery school began to attract numerous students and had far-reaching influence.

+ Saint Adrian was honored for his knowledge of Scripture, the writings of the Fathers of the Church, and as a scholar of Latin and Greek. He ordered that all these subjects, as well as poetry, astronomy, and calendar calculation be taught in the abbey school.

+ Adrian of Canterbury died on January 9, 710.

Spiritual bonus

Today marks the beginning of the season of Ordinary Time. In these days before the Season of Lent (which begins with Ash Wednesday on February 14), the Church invites us to continue our reflection on the mystery of the Incarnation, particularly as we hear stories of the miracles of Jesus in the Gospel Readings at Mass.


“The mouth of the just man utters wisdom, and his tongue tells forth what is right. The law of his God is in his heart.”—Psalm 37:30-31


Grant us, O Lord, that amid the uncertainties of this world we may cling with all our heart to the things of heaven, for through the Abbot blessed Adrian you have given us a model of evangelical perfection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal: Common of Holy Men and Women—For an Abbot)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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