Saint Anselm of Canterbury
Jul 02, 2015 / Written by: America Needs Fatima
Feast April 21
Anselm was born in Aosta in Italy about the year 1033. There was little sympathy between the lad and his father, a harsh man who practically drove him from home after his mother’s death to pursue his studies in Burgundy, France.
In the Benedictine monastery of Bec in Normandy, Anselm met and became the disciple and friend of its great abbot, Lanfranc. When Anselm was twenty-seven, Lanfranc was elected to higher office, and he himself appointed Prior of Bec. Fifteen years later, Anselm was chosen abbot, a position that entailed visits to England where the abbey had property, and where Lanfranc was now Archbishop of Canterbury.
An original thinker and great scholar, Anselm had a burning passion to learn about natural and supernatural truth. He developed a method of study for which he came to be known as the "Father of Scholasticism." Under his governance, first as prior and then as abbot, the Abbey of Bec became a center of true reformation in Normandy and England.
Above all, Anselm's great merit lay in his earnest and conscious effort of living according to what he learned from the study of divine truths. His life truly was a combination of contemplation, study, prayer, writing, and activity.
As the seat of Canterbury became vacant, the pastoral staff was forced into the monk’s reluctant hand.
Now, as archbishop, he set about defending the liberties and rights of the Church against encroaching English monarchs for which he was sorely persecuted and exiled, but ultimately upheld, by Pope Urban II.
While in Rome in 1098, Anselm attended the Council of Bari and assisted in the definition of the doctrines challenged by the Greeks.Anselm’s was a character of singular charm. He was known for his sympathy and sincerity which won him the affection of men of all classes and nationalities.
A friend of the poorest of the poor, his care also extended to slaves, being one of the first to stand against slavery.
In 1102, at the Council of Westminster, he obtained the passing of a resolution prohibiting the practice of selling men like cattle.
Anselm of Canterbury died in 1109 and was declared Doctor of the Church in 1720.