St. Anselm was an incredible theologian, philosopher, and monk, but he was also a model of morality, ethics, and obedience, even when he was elected Archbishop of Canterbury, against his wishes. Keep reading to learn more about this 11th century saint.
Influence of the Monks
St. Anselm was born in 1033 in Italy and was educated by Benedictine monks in a local monastery. He wanted to become a monk from a young age, but his father resisted his entry. Because of this, Anselm lost interest in religion and lived a pretty secular life.
Eventually, he did enter religious life in 1060. He began teaching in the abbey school in Normandy and was made prior in 1063 (just 3 years later!). He began writing many extensive theological, philosophical, and metaphysical works during this time. Fifteen years later, he was chosen as Abbot, which shows just how beloved he was in his community. He was even further promoted when he was called to England to become the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1093 (even though he didn’t want to be).
Struggles as Archbishop
As Archbishop of Canterbury, he disagreed with both King William II and King Henry I regarding some ecclesiastical abuses by those kings, and his desire to reform the Church, causing him to be voluntary exiled (not once, but twice, after returning to try again – fortitude, man!)
He wrote many prayers and meditations, had great moral fortitude and ethical conviction, and was faithful to his monastic life until he died in 1109. His feast day is April 21.
Read a bit more about St. Anselm here.
Why a Canterbury Cross?
St. Anselm became Archbishop of Canterbury in the 11th century, after entering the monastic life at age 27, becoming prior at age 30, then becoming abbot 15 year later, studying and writing much about theology and scripture, and growing in popularity and renown. As archbishop, he and two kings failed to agree about reforming the Church and other issues, so he spent several years in voluntary exile.
Who would be friends with St. Anselm?
- Those in the hospitality industry (hospitality is a Benedictine charism!)
- Those promoted VERY quickly
- Those struggling with disobedience (Anselm was so obedient!)
For I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe-that unless I believe I shall not understand.St. Anselm
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