Saint of the Day

April 21

Saint Anselm

Anselm lived from 1033 to 1109. Having decided to enter a monastery, he was attracted to Bec in Normandy by the reputation of the great teacher, Lanfranc. Anselm became a monk at 27, and a student and close friend of Lanfranc, eventually succeeding him as prior and abbot of Bec, and becoming a still more famous teacher.

After the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, William I replaced the English hierarchy with Normans and Lanfranc was sent as Archbishop of Canterbury. Three years after Lanfranc's death, Anselm was in England (1093) and was forcibly made Archbishop. He was not by nature either an administrator or a politician, but in these difficult times he persevered and through his encouragement of English devotions, he helped to heal the wounds of the Conquest on the English.

Anselm's fame lies in his role as theologian and philosopher; his argument for the existence of God still holds strong appeal for many. His spirituality greatly influenced the Church and, in his concern for the oppressed, he was one of the first opponents of the slave trade. Never formally canonized, he was made a Doctor of the Church in 1720.

©2011 Living with Christ, Novalis - Bayard Press Canada Inc., http://www.livingwithchrist.ca/. Reprinted with permission.