01 Mar

St Anselm of Canterbury, Bishop, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church; Memorial: April 21

Born at Aosta on the borders of Italy, Anselm as a youth left his country and all his possessions and entered the Benedictine monastery of Bec.

After his religious profession he advanced in a striking way in learning and virtue. Kings and bishops held him in respect, and Gregory VII, who at the time was suffering much from persecution, wrote him letters full of affection, asking his prayers for himself and the Church.

Teaching by word and example

Anselm succeeded his former teacher, Lafranc, to the See of Canterbury, and restored piety and church discipline through word and example, and by writing and convoking councils. Soon King William attempted to usurp the rights of the Church through violence and threats, and Anselm resisted him courageously, with the result that his property was confiscated and he himself banished.

He went to Urban II at Rome, and was received with honour and praise. At the Council of Bari, through countless quotations from the Scripture and the Fathers, Anselm refuted the error of the Greeks which maintains that the Holy Spirit does not proceed from the Son as well as from the Father. After William’s death, King Henry, recalled Anselm to England, where he died.

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964


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