+ After studying law in Bologna and Padua, Sylvester abandoned legal studies in favor of Sacred Scripture and theology. A short time later, he accepted a prominent position in the Church but this was later taken from him after he publicly criticized the local bishop for his disedifying conduct.
+ In 1227, when he was fifty, Sylvester settled in a lonely spot thirty miles from Osimo, Italy. He began to live a life of poverty and penance. He was soon joined by disciples and he established a new monastery at Monte Farno in 1231.
+ Sylvester adopted the Rule of St. Benedict for his monks and for the next thirty-six years governed with great wisdom. This new monastic family, which became known as the “Order of St. Benedict of Monte Farno” or the “Sylvestrine Benedictines,” was approved in 1247.
+ At the time of his death in 1267, Sylvester had no fewer than eleven monasteries under his jurisdiction and his name was added to the Roman Martyrology (the Church’s official listing of saints) in 1598.
+ In the mid-twentieth century, the Sylvestrine Benedictines became associated with the broader Order of St. Benedict (the Benedictines) under the supervision of the Benedictines’ abbot primate.
For prayer and reflection
“We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified.”—Romans 8:28-30
On this day, the Church also remembers the Jesuit seminarian Saint John Berchmans. Born in Belgium in 1599, he died in Rome in 1621. Today he is honored as the patron saint of altar servers.
Lord our God, you inspired blessed Sylvester, your abbot, with the desire for monastic solitude and zeal for the active ministry. May we seek you always with true sincerity of heart and through our service in humility hasten towards our eternal home. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(from Benedictine Supplement: Proper Masses for the Use of the Benedictine Confederation)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.