St. Anselm, Bishop and Doctor of the Church | Saint of the Day | April 21

Prayer to St. Anselm, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

God, You called St. Anselm, Your Bishop, to study and teach the sublime truths of Your Wisdom. Let Your gift of Faith come to the aid of our understanding and open our hearts to Your truth. Amen.

St. Anselm, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

St. Anselm was born of noble parentage in Piedmont about the year 1033. At the age of twenty-seven, St. Anselm adopted the monastic state in the monastery of Bec, Studied under Lanfranc, and was made Prior in 1063 and Abbot in 1078.

Various voyages to England in the interest of his Abbey made St. Anselm known in that country, and in 1093 he succeeded his old master, Lanfranc, as Archbishop of Canterbury. His resistance to the unjust measures of King William Rufus drew upon him the anger of that monarch. In1097-98, he made a voyage to Rome, and spend some time in a monastery of Calabria, where he composed a work on the Incarnation. In the same year he assisted at the Council of Bari, and by his prayers prevented the Pope from excommunicating the King of England.

During his travels the Saint composed several of his metaphysical works, and did not return to his See until after the death of King William Rufus in 1100. Differences with the new King caused him to undertake a second journey to Rome in 1103, and Pascal II upheld the authority of the Archbishop as his predecessor, Urban II, had done. He returned to England in 1106 and died in 1109.

St. Anselm was characterized by his spirit of recollection, which he preserved even in the most distracting occupations and by the metaphysical bent of his mind. His written works have deeply influenced Catholic Philosophy and Theology. In this field he is best known for his “Ontological Argument” for the existence of God. He was also a strenuous defender of the rights of the Church against the usurpation of kings.