Bishop and Doctor of the Church (1033-1109)
+ 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
“The light in which you dwell, Lord, is beyond my understanding. It is so brilliant that I cannot bear it, I cannot turn my mind’s eye toward it for any length of time. I am dazzled by its brightness, amazed by its grandeur, overwhelmed by its immensity, bewildered by its abundance.”—Saint Anselm of Canterbury, Proslogion
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.
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,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.