Saint Of The Day

Saint Anselm

Born in Aosta in the Italian Alps, Saint Anselm came from the noble Lombard family. After the death of his mother, Ermenberga, a pious Burgundian woman, he fled home on account of his father’s violence and harshness. In 1060 he took the Benedictine habit at Bec (Normandy), where his illustrious countryman Blessed Lanfranc had started his famous school. Outstanding for his learning, he was within a span of three years made Prior and, after another 15 years, Abbot. In 1093 he was made Archbishop of Canterbury, in the hope that he would tackle the encroachments of King William the Red. Reconciliation was effected in 1107, when the king relinquished his claim to investing Bishops and Abbots. Gentle and self-effacing by nature, Anselm was unyielding on matters of principle. A man of fearless zeal, he strongly denounced the slave trade and staunchly defended the Filioque (“and from the Son”), a doctrine that indicated matter-of-factly that the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Father and the Son. His thinking as evident in his philosophical and theological works, the Monologium and the Proslogium, with the ontological argument for the existence of God as also Cur Deus Homo (Why God Became Man), a dialogue with a non-Christian have had such a deep and abiding influence upon the Church’s philosophy and theology as to earn him the titles of “Father of Scholasticism” and “Doctor of the Universal Church”. Anselm died at Canterbury in 1109. Reflection: “O Lord, our God, grant us the grace to desire you with our whole heart, that in desiring you we may seek and find you; that finding you we may love you, and loving you we may despise the sins from which you have redeemed us” (Saint Anselm).