Showing posts with label Benedictine saints. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Benedictine saints. Show all posts

Monday, January 8, 2018

St Wulsin, bishop of Sherborne (died c1002)

Today (January 8) is the feast of St Wulsin, who was appointed superior of the restored abbey of Westminster circa 960.

St Wulsin originally became a monk at Glastonbury, under St Dunstan, and went on to become part of the tenth century English Benedictine reform movement.

The saint was subsequently appointed as bishop of Sherborne (circa 960) and introduced a monastic chapter within his see.

He was famous for his austere life, modesty and humility, particularly reflected in his very modest pontifical regalia, which remained on display a century after his death.

You can read more about him here.

Monday, June 19, 2017

St Romuald OSB (June 19; Feb 7)

Fr Angelico

Today is the feast of St Romuald in some calendars - in the 1962 calendar his feast is celebrated in Feburary, but he actually died on June 19 and his feast has been restored to the date in most modern calenars.  The Martyrology says:
At Ravenna, St. Romuald, anchoret, founder of the monks of Carnaldoli, who restored and greatly extended monastic discipline, which was much relaxed in Italy. He is also mentioned on the 7th of February.
You can read more about the saint here.

Monday, April 24, 2017

St Mellitus (April 24)


A page divided into 12 sections, each section displaying a scene from the bible
St Augustine Gospels

In the English Congregation, today is traditionally the feast of St Mellitus, the first Bishop of London in the Saxon period and the third Archbishop of Canterbury.

St Mellitus was a member of the Gregorian mission sent to England to convert the Anglo-Saxons from their native paganism to Christianity, arriving around 601 AD with a group of clergy sent by St Gregory the Great to augment S Augustine's group.

St Mellitus was the recipient of a letter from Pope Gregory I known as the Epistola ad Mellitum, preserved by St Bede, which suggested the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons be undertaken gradually, integrating pagan rituals and customs. In 610, Mellitus returned to Italy to attend a council of bishops, and returned to England bearing papal letters to some of the missionaries.

St Mellitus was exiled from London by the pagan successors to his patron, King Sæberht of Essex, following the latter's death around 616. King Æthelberht of Kent, Mellitus' other patron, died at about the same time, forcing him to take refuge in Gaul. Mellitus returned to England the following year, after Æthelberht's successor had been converted to Christianity, but he was unable to return to London, whose inhabitants remained pagan. Mellitus was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in 619. During his tenure, he miraculously saved the cathedral, and much of the town of Canterbury, from a fire. After his death in 624, Mellitus was revered as a saint.

Two books are associated with St Mellitus and may have been bought with him to England: the St Augustine Gospels (pictured above), and a copy of the Rule of St Benedict (MS Oxford Bodleian Hatton 48), though of course the latter claim is disputed by many modern historians, who assign the manuscript a later date.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

St Antoinine of Sorrento OSB (14 February)

Today the martyrology remembers St Antoinine, an abbot who died in 625.  He is one of those early, largely ignored, Benedictine saints who help attest to the continuity of the Order.

According to the Wikipedia, he was born at Campagna, he left his native town to become a monk at Monte Cassino.

"During that time, Italy was suffering from barbarian invasions and Antoninus was forced to leave this monastery. Monte Cassino had been plundered by the Lombards and the monks escaped to Rome to seek protection from Pope Pelagius II. Antoninus, however, headed for Campania where he ended up at Castellammare di Stabia. Here Saint Catellus (San Catello) was bishop. Catellus, wishing to become a hermit, gave up his office as bishop and entrusted Antoninus with the task of serving as the town's bishop. Catellus withdrew to Monte Aureo.

The desire to remain a hermit himself led Antoninus to convince Catellus to return to his see. Antoninus retired to Monte Aureo himself and lived in a natural grotto. However, Catellus again decided to withdraw to this mountain and dedicate himself only sporadically to the cares of his diocese.

An apparition of Saint Michael is said to have convinced the two to construct the stone church now known as Monte San Angelo or Punta San Michele.

Subsequently, Catellus was accused of witchcraft by a priest named Tibeius (Tibeio) of Stabia and was held captive at Rome until a new pope released him. Catellus returned to Stabia and dedicated himself to expanding the church that he had helped found.

Inhabitants of Sorrento, meanwhile, convinced Antoninus to settle at Sorrento. Antoninus became an abbot of the Benedictine monastery of San Agrippino, succeeding Boniface (Bonifacio) in this capacity.

A miracle attributed to Saint Antoninus states that he saved a young child from a whale after it had been swallowed up by this sea creature. The sorrentini erected a crypt and basilica in honor of Antoninus. He was credited with saving the city from many dangers: a Moorish naval invasion; the revolt of the Sorrento leader Giovanni Grillo against Spanish domination; demonic possession; bubonic plague; and cholera."

Saturday, February 11, 2017

February 11: St Benedict of Aniane


St Benedict of Aniane (747 – 821) was the great codifier of monastic practice and rules under the Carolingian Empire, and is often credited with mandating of the use of the Rule of St Benedict among monks.

Friday, February 10, 2017

February 10:St Scholastica, Class I/II


St Scholastica (c480-543) was the twin sister of St Benedict.  She originally set up a monastery at Subiaco, and followed her brother when he moved to Monte Cassino, at the nearby monastery of Plumbariola.

Most of the information we have about her comes from St Gregory's Dialogues, including the story of their famous last day together, depicted in the painting above.  You can read the relevant parts of St Gregory on her here.  St Gregory depicts her as outdoing her brother in holiness, and providing a charismatic counter to his insistence on following the rules to the letter!

Her feast is celebrated as a Class I by Benedictine nuns, in part because, as well as attesting to the tradition of twinned monasteries, she also lends support for the fact that originally at least, Benedictine nuns were not established as a "second Order", with stricter enclosure requirements than for men as for later Orders, but rather the provisions of the Rule generally apply equally to both monks and nuns. Indeed, there is a nice letter (which may be a later medieval pious fraud, but nonetheless attests to the point) attributed to St Scholastica on this very point, which you can read over at Vultus Christi.

A Song about St Scholastica

Finally, from the Monastic matrix project, courtesy of Logismoi, a song by St Aldhelm, Bishop of Sherborne (c 639-709):

Scholastica took her very name from schola,
God enriches her abundantly with heavenly favour,
She who gained golden rewards by her virginal vow.

Concerning whom a little twig of nourishing life
is wont to scatter excellence
as widely as the world extends.

Because the virgin impatiently urges her brother
who is joined to her by a covenant of kinship,
and supports her pleas with reasoned argument

So that, at night, they might partake
of the sweet courses of the holy books
and the banquets of the holy word.
From which the breasts of many
are sufficiently filled,

And the hearts of holy people nourished.
But the faithful brother is not moved by any pleas,
Nay rather he disdains his holy sister in his words.
Then the virgin urged the good Christ in her heart
to deign to heal the wound of sorrow for her.

Thus soon the whole sky grows dark
with a stormy whirlwind
and the vault of the heaven with gloomy air.
Huge rumbling thunder,
mingled with flashing lightning bolts,

And the Earth quaked,
trembling from the great noise.
Wet fleecy clouds moisten it with dewy drops,
And the air bedews the land with gloomy showers.
The valleys are filled
and abundant streams overflow,

Then unwillingly he remained
who before had deliberately refused
what his distressed and weeping sister had sought.
So God heeds those who ask with burning heart,
Even when they pay attention to words
which do not console.

(translated by Mary Forman, OSB, and originally published in Vox Benedictiana, 1990)

Saturday, January 21, 2017

January 21 : St Meinrad OSB (in some places)


Saint Meinrad (died 861) was born into the family of the Counts of Hohenzollern and was educated at the abbey school of Reichenau, an island in Lake Constance, under his kinsmen Abbots Hatto and Erlebald. There he became a monk and was ordained.

After some years at Reichenau, the dependent priory of Bollingen and on Lake Zurich, he embraced an eremitical life and established his hermitage on the slopes of Etzel (mountain), taking with him a wonder-working statue of the Virgin Mary which he had been given by the Abbess Hildegarde of Zurich.

He was killed in 861 by the thieves Richard and Peter who wanted the treasures which pilgrims left at the shrine.

The location subsequently became Einsiedeln Abbey, from which the several houses of the Swiss-American Congregation in the US trace their origin.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

January 12: St Benedict Biscop OSB


Today, the Roman Martyrology (and the Ordo of the English Congregation of Benedictines) mentions St Benedict Biscop, a seventh century Anglo-Saxon abbot, and he is really one of those saints who deserve to be better known as one of those responsible for the preservation of Western civilization in the 'dark ages'.

As a monk he had a reputation as being pious, ascetic, learned and holy. He is particularly honoured as the founder of the twin monasteries of Wearmouth whose Church still stands and Jarrow, where he was St Bede the Venerable's first abbot.

But his particular interest is the way his fascinating career illustrates the cross-fertilization of cultural currents at the time, and his work in importing books and skills to England where they were preserved and re-exported back to the Continent a century later.

Some modern historians, have argued that Benedict Biscop and his monastery were not in reality 'true' Benedictines.  Don't believe a word of it!  St Bede's Life of the saint opens by painting him as a true son of St Benedict of Nursia:
THE pious servant of Christ, Biscop, called Benedict, with the assistance of the Divine grace, built a monastery in honour of the most holy of the apostles, St. Peter, near the mouth of the river Were, on the north side. The venerable and devout king of that nation, Egfrid, contributed the land; and Biscop, for the space of sixteen years, amid innumerable perils in journeying and in illness, ruled this monastery with the same piety which stirred him up to build it. 
If I may use the words of the blessed Pope Gregory, in which he glorifies the life of the abbot of the same name, he was a man of a venerable life, blessed (Benedictus) both in grace and in name; having the mind of an adult even from his childhood, surpassing his age by his manners, and with a soul addicted to no false pleasures.... 
This opening section of the Life also makes a fairly clear allusion to the use of the Benedict Rule:
He spurned the ownership of transient things so that he could acquire eternal ones, and shunned earthly military service with the perishable reward, so that he might be worthy to fight for the true king and to have an everlasting kingdom [cf Prologue, RB 2, 61] in the city that is above...
 Near the end, he exhorts his monks to follow the Rule in electing his successor.  And another contemporary life defends his long absences from the monastery by pointing to St Benedict's Abbot-President type role at Subiaco.

To Rome and Lerins

Biscop (aka Benedict Barducing) was a noble who at the age of 25, in 653, left his promising career as a minister at court and headed off in pilgrimage to Rome, returning filled with fervour for the Church. Twelve years later, he did a second trip to Rome, this time ending up at the famous monastery of Lerins in the south of France (which had adopted the Rule of St Benedict by this time) where he became a monk and stayed for two years to learn what he could.

He returned to England on the instructions of the Pope, in order to act as interpreter and native guide for the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Theodore of Tarsus, a Greek monk who had been living in Italy as a refugee from the monothelite heresy then raging in the East. St Benedict then spent two years as abbot of the monastery at Canterbury before that role was taken over by Archbishop Theodore's companion Abbot Hadrian.

England at the time was still in the process of healing the breach between the Irish adherents of St Columba and the Anglo-Saxons, and St Benedict Biscop was firmly in the Roman party as a friend of the inimitable St Wilfrid (look him up!). In all, Abbot Benedict made six trips to Rome, each time bringing back many books (which he instructed his monks to carefully protect and retain!), relics, statues, icons, fabulous silks, and skilled workers.

Liturgy and Gregorian chant

On one of last of these trips, around 680 AD, for example he brought back a monk, Abbot John, to teach the chant for the liturgical year as it was done at Rome (and probably also do a bit of politicking on behalf of the Pope), teaching the locals "the theory and practice of singing and reading aloud, and he put into writing all that was necessary for the proper observance of festivals throughout the year."  It is worth noting that Constant Mews of Monash University has found some evidence that St Peter's at that time was essentially using the Benedictine Office.

In any case, chant workshops were as popular then as they are now it seems - 'proficient singers from nearly all the monasteries of the province' came to hear him; he received many invitations to teach elsewhere; and Abbot John's document detailing the proper observances for various feasts was, according to St Bede, copied for many other places.

Books

This St Benedict was keenly aware of the tradition of learning in the Order (possibly encouraged by his time at Lerins, which had always been something of a theological school producing many bishops). The library (and scriptorium) he assembled at Wearmouth was one of the largest then around, with over three hundred books, including many manuscripts rescued from Cassiodorus' fifth century attempt to preserve classical culture at the Vivarium (not least the Bible 'pandect' produced their, which in turn formed the basis for the Codex Amiatinus, probably the earliest surviving complete Bible).

Sacred art and architecture

Similarly, when Abbot Benedict built his own monastery at the invitation of King Egfrith of Northumbria, no effort was spared. St Bede wrote:

"After the interval of a year, Benedict crossed the sea into Gaul, and no sooner asked than he obtained and carried back with him some masons to build him a church in the Roman style, which he had always admired. ...When the work was drawing to completion, he sent messengers to Gaul to fetch makers of glass, (more properly artificers,) who were at this time unknown in Britain, that they might glaze the windows of his church, with the cloisters and dining-rooms. This was done, and they came, and not only finished the work required, but taught the English nation their handicraft, which was well adapted for enclosing the lanterns of the church, and for the vessels required for various uses.

All other things necessary for the service of the church and the altar, the sacred vessels, and the vestments, because they could not be procured in England, he took especial care to buy and bring home from foreign parts.

Some decorations and muniments there were which could not be procured even in Gaul, and these the pious founder determined to fetch from Rome..."

A holy death

St Benedict Biscop spent the last three years of his life paralysed by an illness:

"..yet he never lost his cheerfulness, nor ceased to praise God and exhort the brethren. He was often troubled by sleepless nights, when, to alleviate his weariness, he would call one of his monks and desire to have read to him the story of the patience of Job, or some other passage of scripture by which a sick man might be comforted, or one bent down by infirmities might be more spiritually raised to heavenly things.

Nor did he neglect the regular hours of prayer, but as he was unable to rise from his bed to prayer and could scarcely raise his voice in praise, he would call some of the brethren to him that they might sing the psalms in two choirs, he himself joining with them to the best of his ability."

He died early on this day in 689, surrounded by his brethren, and was buried in the Church he had founded, surrounded by the treasures that he had collected.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

St Peter Orseolo (Jan 10)



In the Benedictine calendar today (EF calendar Jan 15), today is the memorial of St Paul the first hermit.

But the martyrology also recalls today another hermit, this time a Benedictine, in the form of St Peter Orseolo, a Doge of Venice who became a simple monk of the Order of St Benedict.

St Peter was a Doge of Venice, and lived between 928 and 987. 

He was married at 18 and had one son, who also eventually became a Doge of Venice.

At 20, he led the Venetian fleet against Dalmatian pirates.

In 976 he became Doge after a revolution against the sitting Doge's attempts to create a monarchy.  In that position he started the rebuilding of St Mark's, as well as building hospitals and supported other social programs. 

Two years later, he quietly left town and joined a Benedictine monastery in the South of France, living a life of great asceticism. 

He subsequently became a hermit with the encouragement of St Romuald, living in the forest surrounding the monastery.

He was acclaimed a saint some forty years after his death, and the canonization was ratified in 1731 by Pope Clement XII.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Blessed Richard Whiting OSB and Companions (Nov 29)

The ruins of Glastonbury Abbey

In some places today is the feast of Blessed Richard Whiting and companions, martyred under Henry VIII of England.

Blessed Richard was abbot of Glastonbury Abbey, and one of the few churchman to stand up against Henry VIII's destruction of the English Church.

Blessed Richard Whiting was appointed abbot in 1525, and the first ten years of Whiting's rule were prosperous and peaceful. He was a sober and caring spiritual leader and a good manager of the abbey's day-to-day life. Contemporary accounts show that Whiting was held in very high esteem.

Attempts to find excuses to close the abbey failed, and the abbot stood in the way of its dissolution.  He was hung, drawn and quartered without proper trial along with two of his monks in 1539.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

St Sylvester OSB (Nov 26)




Saint Sylvester Gozzolini (1177 - 1267) is the founder of the Sylvestrine Congregation:

"Born of the noble family of the Gozzolini at Osimo, Marche, he was sent to study jurisprudence at Bologna and Padua, but, feeling within himself a call to the ecclesiastical state, abandoned the study of law for that of theology and Holy Scripture, giving long hours daily to prayer. On his return home we are told that his father, angered at his change of purpose, refused to speak to him for ten years. Sylvester then accepted a canonry at Osimo and devoted himself to pastoral work with such zeal as to arouse the hostility of his bishop, whom he had respectfully rebuked for the scandals caused by the prelate's irregular life.

The saint was threatened with the loss of his canonry, but decided to leave the world on seeing the decaying corpse of one who had formerly been noted for great beauty. In 1227 he retired to a desert place about thirty miles from Osimo and lived there in the utmost poverty until he was recognized by the owner of the land, a certain nobleman named Conrad, who offered him a better site for his hermitage. From this spot he was driven by damp and next established himself at Grotta Fucile, where he eventually built a monastery of his order.

In this place his penances were most severe, for he lived on raw herbs and water and slept on the bare ground. Disciples flocked to him seeking his direction, and it became necessary to choose a rule. According to the legend the various founders appeared to him in a vision, each begging him to adopt his rule. St. Sylvester chose for his followers that of St. Benedict and built his first monastery on Montefano, where, like another St. Benedict, he had first to destroy the remains of a pagan temple.

In 1247 he obtained from Innocent IV, at Lyon, a papal bull confirming his order, and before his death founded a number of monasteries."

Today the congregation has nineteen houses, eleven of them in Asia, on in Australia, one in the US, and the rest in Italy.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

November 20: St Mechtilde OSB (in some places)


The feast of St Mechtilde is not celebrated in all places, but I thought I'd put put a piece in her honour anyway!

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, she was:
 
"Benedictine; born in 1240 or 1241 at the ancestral castle of Helfta, near Eisleben, Saxony; died in the monastery of Helfta, 19 November, 1298.
 
She belonged to one of the noblest and most powerful Thuringian families, while here sister was the saintly and illustrious Abbess Gertrude von Hackeborn....So fragile was she at birth, that the attendants, fearing she might die unbaptized, hurried her off to the priest who was just then preparing to say Mass. He was a man of great sanctity, and after baptizing the child, uttered these prophetic words: "What do you fear? This child most certainly will not die, but she will become a saintly religious in whom God will work many wonders, and she will end her days in a good old age." When she was seven years old, having been taken by her mother on a visit to her elder sister Gertrude, then a nun in the monastery of Rodardsdorf, she became so enamoured of the cloister that her pious parents yielded to her entreaties and, acknowledging the workings of grace, allowed her to enter the alumnate. Here, being highly gifted in mind as well as in body, she made remarkable progress in virtue and learning.

Ten years later (1258) she followed her sister, who, now abbess, had transferred the monastery to an estate at Helfta given her by her brothers Louis and Albert. As a nun, Mechtilde was soon distinguished for her humility, her fervour, and that extreme amiability which had characterized her from childhood and which, like piety, seemed hereditary in her race.

While still very young, she became a valuable helpmate to Abbess Gertrude, who entrusted to her direction the alumnate and the choir. Mechtilde was fully equipped for her task when, in 1261, God committed to her prudent care a child of five who was destined to shed lustre upon the monastery of Helfta. This was that Gertrude who in later generations became known as St. Gertrude the Great.

Gifted with a beautiful voice, Mechtilde also possessed a special talent for rendering the solemn and sacred music over which she presided as domna cantrix. All her life she held this office and trained the choir with indefatigable zeal. Indeed, Divine praise was the keynote of her life as it is of her book; in this she never tired, despite her continual and severe physical sufferings, so that in His revelations Christ was wont to call her His "nightingale". Richly endowed, naturally and supernaturally, ever gracious, beloved of all who came within the radius of her saintly and charming personality, there is little wonder that this cloistered virgin should strive to keep hidden her wondrous life. Souls thirsting for consolation or groping for light sought her advice; learned Dominicans consulted her on spiritual matters. At the beginning of her own mystic life it was from St. Mechtilde that St. Gertrude the Great learnt that the marvellous gifts lavished upon her were from God.

Only in her fiftieth year did St. Mechtilde learn that the two nuns in whom she had especially confided had noted down the favours granted her, and, moreover, that St. Gertrude had nearly finished a book on the subject. Much troubled at this, she, as usual, first had recourse to prayer. She had a vision of Christ holding in His hand the book of her revelations, and saying: "All this has been committed to writing by my will and inspiration; and, therefore you have no cause to be troubled about it." He also told her that, as He had been so generous towards her, she must make Him a like return, and that the diffusion of the revelations would cause many to increase in His love; moreover, He wished this book to be called "The Book of Special Grace", because it would prove such to many. When the saint understood that the book would tend to God's glory, she ceased to be troubled, and even corrected the manuscript herself.

Immediately after her death it was made public, and copies were rapidly multiplied, owing chiefly to the widespread influence of the Friars Preachers. Boccaccio tells how, a few years after the death of Mechtilde, the book of her revelations was brought to Florence and popularized under the title of "La Laude di donna Matelda". It is related that the Florentines were accustomed to repeat daily before their sacred images the praises learned from St. Mechtilde's book.

St. Gertrude, to whose devotedness we owe the "Liber Specialis Gratiae" exclaims: "Never has there arisen one like to her in our monastery; nor, alas! I fear, will there ever arise another such!" — little dreaming that her own name would be inseparably linked with that of Mechtilde. With that of St. Gertrude, the body of St. Mechtilde most probably still reposes at Old Helfta thought the exact spot is unknown...."

Thursday, November 17, 2016

November 17: St Gertrude the Great OSB, Class II/III


St Gertrude the Great (1256 - 1301) was one of a group of women mystics in this period, a student of St Matilda of Hackleborn.  She has become popular in recent years because her liturgically based piety fits well with modern preoccupations, and for her role in the origins of devotion to the sacred heart.

Pope Benedict XVI recently devoted a General Audience to her:

"St Gertrude the Great, of whom I would like to talk to you today, brings us once again this week to the Monastery of Helfta, where several of the Latin-German masterpieces of religious literature were written by women. Gertrude belonged to this world. She is one of the most famous mystics, the only German woman to be called "Great", because of her cultural and evangelical stature: her life and her thought had a unique impact on Christian spirituality. She was an exceptional woman, endowed with special natural talents and extraordinary gifts of grace, the most profound humility and ardent zeal for her neighbour's salvation. She was in close communion with God both in contemplation and in her readiness to go to the help of those in need.


At Helfta, she measured herself systematically, so to speak, with her teacher, Matilda of Hackeborn, of whom I spoke at last Wednesday's Audience. Gertrude came into contact with Matilda of Magdeburg, another medieval mystic and grew up under the wing of Abbess Gertrude, motherly, gentle and demanding. From these three sisters she drew precious experience and wisdom; she worked them into a synthesis of her own, continuing on her religious journey with boundless trust in the Lord. Gertrude expressed the riches of her spirituality not only in her monastic world, but also and above all in the biblical, liturgical, Patristic and Benedictine contexts, with a highly personal hallmark and great skill in communicating.

Gertrude was born on 6 January 1256, on the Feast of the Epiphany, but nothing is known of her parents nor of the place of her birth. Gertrude wrote that the Lord himself revealed to her the meaning of this first uprooting: "I have chosen you for my abode because I am pleased that all that is lovable in you is my work.... For this very reason I have distanced you from all your relatives, so that no one may love you for reasons of kinship and that I may be the sole cause of the affection you receive" (The Revelations, I, 16, Siena 1994, pp. 76-77).

When she was five years old, in 1261, she entered the monastery for formation and education, a common practice in that period. Here she spent her whole life, the most important stages of which she herself points out. In her memoirs she recalls that the Lord equipped her in advance with forbearing patience and infinite mercy, forgetting the years of her childhood, adolescence and youth, which she spent, she wrote, "in such mental blindness that I would have been capable... of thinking, saying or doing without remorse everything I liked and wherever I could, had you not armed me in advance, with an inherent horror of evil and a natural inclination for good and with the external vigilance of others. "I would have behaved like a pagan... in spite of desiring you since childhood, that is since my fifth year of age, when I went to live in the Benedictine shrine of religion to be educated among your most devout friends" (ibid., II, 23, p. 140f.).

Gertrude was an extraordinary student, she learned everything that can be learned of the sciences of the trivium and quadrivium, the education of that time; she was fascinated by knowledge and threw herself into profane studies with zeal and tenacity, achieving scholastic successes beyond every expectation. If we know nothing of her origins, she herself tells us about her youthful passions: literature, music and song and the art of miniature painting captivated her. She had a strong, determined, ready and impulsive temperament. She often says that she was negligent; she recognizes her shortcomings and humbly asks forgiveness for them. She also humbly asks for advice and prayers for her conversion. Some features of her temperament and faults were to accompany her to the end of her life, so as to amaze certain people who wondered why the Lord had favoured her with such a special love.

From being a student she moved on to dedicate herself totally to God in monastic life, and for 20 years nothing exceptional occurred: study and prayer were her main activities. Because of her gifts she shone out among the sisters; she was tenacious in consolidating her culture in various fields.

Nevertheless during Advent of 1280 she began to feel disgusted with all this and realized the vanity of it all. On 27 January 1281, a few days before the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin, towards the hour of Compline in the evening, the Lord with his illumination dispelled her deep anxiety. With gentle sweetness he calmed the distress that anguished her, a torment that Gertrude saw even as a gift of God, "to pull down that tower of vanity and curiosity which, although I had both the name and habit of a nun alas I had continued to build with my pride, so that at least in this manner I might find the way for you to show me your salvation" (ibid., II, p. 87). She had a vision of a young man who, in order to guide her through the tangle of thorns that surrounded her soul, took her by the hand. In that hand Gertrude recognized "the precious traces of the wounds that abrogated all the acts of accusation of our enemies" (ibid., II, 1, p. 89), and thus recognized the One who saved us with his Blood on the Cross: Jesus.

From that moment her life of intimate communion with the Lord was intensified, especially in the most important liturgical seasons Advent-Christmas, Lent-Easter, the feasts of Our Lady even when illness prevented her from going to the choir. This was the same liturgical humus as that of Matilda, her teacher; but Gertrude describes it with simpler, more linear images, symbols and terms that are more realistic and her references to the Bible, to the Fathers and to the Benedictine world are more direct.

Her biographer points out two directions of what we might describe as her own particular "conversion": in study, with the radical passage from profane, humanistic studies to the study of theology, and in monastic observance, with the passage from a life that she describes as negligent, to the life of intense, mystical prayer, with exceptional missionary zeal. The Lord who had chosen her from her mother's womb and who since her childhood had made her partake of the banquet of monastic life, called her again with his grace "from external things to inner life and from earthly occupations to love for spiritual things". Gertrude understood that she was remote from him, in the region of unlikeness, as she said with Augustine; that she had dedicated herself with excessive greed to liberal studies, to human wisdom, overlooking spiritual knowledge, depriving herself of the taste for true wisdom; she was then led to the mountain of contemplation where she cast off her former self to be reclothed in the new. "From a grammarian she became a theologian, with the unflagging and attentive reading of all the sacred books that she could lay her hands on or contrive to obtain. She filled her heart with the most useful and sweet sayings of Sacred Scripture. Thus she was always ready with some inspired and edifying word to satisfy those who came to consult her while having at her fingertips the most suitable scriptural texts to refute any erroneous opinion and silence her opponents" (ibid., I, 1, p. 25).

Gertrude transformed all this into an apostolate: she devoted herself to writing and popularizing the truth of faith with clarity and simplicity, with grace and persuasion, serving the Church faithfully and lovingly so as to be helpful to and appreciated by theologians and devout people.

Little of her intense activity has come down to us, partly because of the events that led to the destruction of the Monastery of Helfta. In addition to The Herald of Divine Love and The Revelations, we still have her Spiritual Exercises, a rare jewel of mystical spiritual literature.

In religious observance our Saint was "a firm pillar... a very powerful champion of justice and truth" (ibid., I, 1, p. 26), her biographer says. By her words and example she kindled great fervour in other people. She added to the prayers and penances of the monastic rule others with such devotion and such trusting abandonment in God that she inspired in those who met her an awareness of being in the Lord's presence. In fact, God made her understand that he had called her to be an instrument of his grace. Gertrude herself felt unworthy of this immense divine treasure, and confesses that she had not safeguarded it or made enough of it. She exclaimed: "Alas! If you had given me to remember you, unworthy as I am, by even only a straw, I would have viewed it with greater respect and reverence that I have had for all your gifts!" (ibid., II, 5, p. 100). Yet, in recognizing her poverty and worthlessness she adhered to God's will, "because", she said, "I have so little profited from your graces that I cannot resolve to believe that they were lavished upon me solely for my own use, since no one can thwart your eternal wisdom. Therefore, O Giver of every good thing who has freely lavished upon me gifts so undeserved, in order that, in reading this, the heart of at least one of your friends may be moved at the thought that zeal for souls has induced you to leave such a priceless gem for so long in the abominable mud of my heart" (ibid., II, 5, p. 100f.).

Two favours in particular were dearer to her than any other, as Gertrude herself writes: "The stigmata of your salvation-bearing wounds which you impressed upon me, as it were, like a valuable necklaces, in my heart, and the profound and salutary wound of love with which you marked it.

"You flooded me with your gifts, of such beatitude that even were I to live for 1,000 years with no consolation neither interior nor exterior the memory of them would suffice to comfort me, to enlighten me, to fill me with gratitude. Further, you wished to introduce me into the inestimable intimacy of your friendship by opening to me in various ways that most noble sacrarium of your Divine Being which is your Divine Heart.... To this accumulation of benefits you added that of giving me as Advocate the Most Holy Virgin Mary, your Mother, and often recommended me to her affection, just as the most faithful of bridegrooms would recommend his beloved bride to his own mother" (ibid., II, 23, p. 145).

Looking forward to never-ending communion, she ended her earthly life on 17 November 1301 or 1302, at the age of about 46. In the seventh Exercise, that of preparation for death, St Gertrude wrote: "O Jesus, you who are immensely dear to me, be with me always, so that my heart may stay with you and that your love may endure with me with no possibility of division; and bless my passing, so that my spirit, freed from the bonds of the flesh, may immediately find rest in you. Amen" (Spiritual Exercises, Milan 2006, p. 148).

It seems obvious to me that these are not only things of the past, of history; rather St Gertrude's life lives on as a lesson of Christian life, of an upright path, and shows us that the heart of a happy life, of a true life, is friendship with the Lord Jesus. And this friendship is learned in love for Sacred Scripture, in love for the Liturgy, in profound faith, in love for Mary, so as to be ever more truly acquainted with God himself and hence with true happiness, which is the goal of our life. Many thanks. "

Sunday, November 13, 2016

November 13: All Saints of the Benedictine Order and a call to arms



This year All Saints of the Benedictine Order is only a commemoration, due to the Sunday.  But most religious orders have both an 'All Saints' and an ‘All Souls' feasts of their Order, and of course the Benedictines too, given the Benedictine origins of the two feasts.

By the late middle ages the Benedictines could lay claim to giving to the Church no less than 24 popes, 200 cardinals, 7,000 archbishops, 15,000 bishops, and over 1,500 canonized saints, not to mention 20 emperors, 10 empresses, 47 kings, and 50 queens.

And of course there are untold numbers of other, unsung saints among its members.

This year, though, above all, I think we should treat as a call to arms, a call for all of us to join the ranks of this vast army of soldiers of Christ led by St Benedict the Great, and take arms in the cause of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, that is, the Church.

The destruction of the churches of Norcia

Over at New Liturgical Movement Peter Kwasniewski has written a moving elegy to the churches of Norcia, birthplace of SS Benedict and Scholastica, all of which were destroyed in the recent earthquakes.  Rorate Caeli has a piece also worth reading on this subject.  

Now, more than ever, we need new Benedictine saints to arise to lead us.

For that to happen, we need to look within ourselves first of all; to embark on our own program of spiritual building up of the walls, through the cultivation of faith and the performance of good works.

We must, as St Bede the Venerable instructs:
pray assiduously to the Lord for the state of the whole Church throughout the world, according to the example of the Lord's prayer itself, in which one is not bidden to pray for daily bread to be given specifically to oneself, or for one's own sins to be forgiven, or for ones self to be delivered from temptation or wickedness, but rather for all who have the same Father in heaven". (On Ezra and Nehemiah, trans deGregorio).
Above, all we should all, to paraphrase St Bede, pray that God might inflame our minds and touch them with his love, so that we can understand and carry out the will of  God the Father.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

October 5: SS Maurus and Placid, OSB

St Benedict receives SS Maurus and Placid
Sodoma, c15th

SS Maurus and Placid were both child oblates under St Benedict, and several incidents relating to them feature in St Gregory's Life of St Benedict.

Both, however, have subsequent legends attached to them that though largely dismissed by most contemporary historians, in fact do have some plausibility in my opinion, and are worth reconsidering.

St Maurus (512-584)

St Maurus was one of the most popular saints of the middle ages, with a widespread cult, in part due to the references to him in St Gregories Life of St Benedict, and in part to two later works, his Life and the Little Book of Miracles.

In the Life, St Maurus is credited with the introduction of Benedictine monasticism into France due to his foundation of the monastery of Glanfeuil, in response to a request from the bishop of Le Mans.

According to the story, by the time he and his fellow monks arrived in France to make the proposed new foundation, the bishop had died and his successor was less than enthusiastic.  St Maurus managed to find another benefactor however, and the monastery was duly founded, and thrived (albeit with the usual trials and tribulations) until its destruction by the Vikings.  The monks, however, fled to Paris, and established a new monastery there to continue his cult.



The modern translator of St Maurus' life (published, somewhat ironically given the Cistercian rejection of the type of monasticism St Maurus' life represented, in the Cistercian Studies Series in 2008), John Wickstrom, is a sceptic about both the authenticity of the life, and the historical claims it sought to bolster.

But though the Life itself may well have been largely a larger redaction or much later composition, I'm not convinced we should so quickly dismiss the underlying historicity of the main events it chronicles.

First, archeological excavations in the late nineteenth century established that there was indeed a monastery at this location in the sixth century, founded on the remains of a roman villa.

Secondly, this was a period of expansion of monasticism in Northern Europe, so the idea of seeking out a delegation from an existing monastery of some fame in Italy to assist in making a foundation is not at all implausible.

Thirdly, this region seems to have been a very early centre of enthusiastic devotion to Benedictine saints that is otherwise hard to explain.  The nearby monastery of Fleury, founded by 640, is famous for its raid on Monte Cassino to obtain the relics of St Benedict, as is Le Mans, which claimed to have obtained the relics of St Scholastica).

In any case, St Maurus was an important disciple of St Benedict, and the blessing for the sick named for him remains an important part of the Benedictine patrimony.

St Placid

St Placid was also one of St Benedict's disciples: he was originally credited as having been sent to establish a monastery at Messina in Sicily, and being martyred there by pirates, but 1969 (modernist-rationalist) revisionism has led to this claim being dropped from the modern martyrology.

It is certainly true that the ninth century attribution of his martyrdom to Muslim raiders was anachronistic.

But his was certainly a turbulent period in the history of Sicily, so whether the addition of this detail is enough to invalidate the underlying story of his martyrdom is, in my view, debatable.

**And for the record, here is the older Roman Office reading for the Office on him:

Commemoration of Ss. Placidus and Companions, Martyrs

Placidus was the son of Tertullus, one of the noblest persons of Rome. He was offered to God (by his father) when a child (only seven years of age) and given over to holy Benedict, in whose teaching and Rule of monks he so profited that he was reckoned among the chiefest of his disciples.

By him he was sent into Sicily, where he founded near the Port of Messina a Church and monastery in honour of St John the Baptist, and lived therein with his monks in wonderful holiness. Thither there came to see him his brothers Eutychius and Victorinus and his virgin sister Flavia, and while they were together, there landed there a certain brutal pirate, named Manucha, who took the monastery, and when he could in no wise prevail upon Placidus and the others to deny Christ, he commanded him, his brothers, and his sister to be cruelly murdered. With them Donatus, Firmatus a Deacon, Faustus, and thirty other monks brought the conflict of testimony to the blessed end of martyrdom, upon the fifth day of October, in the year of salvation 539


Statue of St Placid by Meinrad, 1679-81

Sunday, August 21, 2016

August 21: Blessed Bernard Ptolemy OSB, Abbot, memorial



The Magnificat antiphon for I Vespers reflects the readings for the first Nocturn of Matins tomorrow, from chapter 1 of the Book of Wisdom.  Today’s Gospel is St Luke 18: 9-14, the story of the Pharisee and the publican at prayer.


It is never to late to be recognised as a saint, with Pope Benedict XVI formally canonising Bernardo Tolomei (1272-1348), abbot and founder of the Congregation of the Blessed Virgin of Monte Oliveto, in 2009. He was beatified by Urban VIII in 1634.

Pope Benedict XVI described him as an "authentic martyr of charity."

According to Zenit, the saint died while taking care of the monks who had fallen ill to the great plague of 1348: "The example of this saint is for us an invitation to translate our faith into a life dedicated to God in prayer and in total surrender to service to one's neighbor, with the instinct of charity ready to take on even the supreme sacrifice," the Holy Father said.

The Wiki has some details of the details of his life (largely from the Catholic Encylopedia):

"Giovanni Tolomei was born at Siena in Tuscany. He took the name of "Bernard" (in its Italian form Bernardo) out of admiration for the saintly Abbot of Clairvaux. He was educated by his uncle, Christopher Tolomeo, a Dominican, and desired to enter the religious life, but his father's opposition prevented him from doing so, and he continued his studies in secular surroundings.

After a course in philosophy and mathematics he devoted himself to the study of civil and canon law, and of theology. For a time Bernardo served in the armies of Rudolph I of Germany. After his return to Siena he was appointed by his fellow citizens to the highest positions in the town government. While thus occupied he was struck with blindness. Having recovered his sight, this being attributed to the intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary, he retired (1313) to a solitary spot about ten miles from Siena, where he led a life of the greatest austerity.

The fame of his virtues soon attracted many visitors, and Bernardo was accused of heresy. He went to Avignon and cleared himself of this charge before Pope John XXII without difficulty. Upon his return he founded the congregation of the Blessed Virgin of Monte Oliveto (the Olivetans), giving it the Rule of St. Benedict. The purpose of the new religious institute was a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin.

Guido, Bishop of Arezzo, within whose diocese the congregation was formed, confirmed its constitution in (1319), and many favours were granted by Popes John XXII, Clement VI (1344), and Gregory XI. Upon the appearance of the plague in the district of Arezzo, Bernardo and his monks devoted themselves to the care of the sick. As a result of this charitable act, Bernardo and a number of his Olivetian confreres themselves succumbed to the ravages of the plague.

After having ruled the religious body he had founded for 27 years Bernardo died, at the age of 76."

Saturday, August 20, 2016

August 20: Feast of St Bernard of Clarivaux "OSB", Class III

Although the Benedictine calendar claims St Bernard (1090-1153) as a saint "of our [Benedictine] order", that is only true in the very broadest sense, since St. Bernard was actually a Cistercian, technically a separate religious order that made a great point of differentiating its approach from that of the "black monks".

Pope Benedict XVI gave a General Audience on the saint in 2009:

"Today I would like to talk about St Bernard of Clairvaux, called "the last of the Fathers" of the Church because once again in the 12th century he renewed and brought to the fore the important theology of the Fathers. We do not know in any detail about the years of his childhood; however, we know that he was born in 1090 in Fontaines, France, into a large and fairly well-to-do family. As a very young man he devoted himself to the study of the so-called liberal arts especially grammar, rhetoric and dialectics at the school of the canons of the Church of Saint-Vorles at Châtillon-sur-Seine; and the decision to enter religious life slowly matured within him. At the age of about 20, he entered Cîteaux, a new monastic foundation that was more flexible in comparison with the ancient and venerable monasteries of the period while at the same time stricter in the practice of the evangelical counsels. A few years later, in 1115, Bernard was sent by Stephen Harding, the third Abbot of Cîteaux, to found the monastery of Clairvaux. Here the young Abbot he was only 25 years old was able to define his conception of monastic life and set about putting it into practice. In looking at the discipline of other monasteries, Bernard firmly recalled the need for a sober and measured life, at table as in clothing and monastic buildings, and recommended the support and care of the poor. In the meantime the community of Clairvaux became ever more numerous and its foundations multiplied.

In those same years before 1130 Bernard started a prolific correspondence with many people of both important and modest social status. To the many Epistolae of this period must be added numerous Sermones, as well as Sententiae and Tractatus. Bernard's great friendship with William, Abbot of Saint-Thierry, and with William of Champeaux, among the most important figures of the 12th century, also date to this period. As from 1130, Bernard began to concern himself with many serious matters of the Holy See and of the Church. For this reason he was obliged to leave his monastery ever more frequently and he sometimes also travelled outside France. He founded several women's monasteries and was the protagonist of a lively correspondence with Peter the Venerable, Abbot of Cluny, of whom I spoke last Wednesday. In his polemical writings he targeted in particular Abelard, a great thinker who had conceived of a new approach to theology, introducing above all the dialectic and philosophical method in the constructi0n of theological thought. On another front Bernard combated the heresy of the Cathars, who despised matter and the human body and consequently despised the Creator. On the other hand, he felt it was his duty to defend the Jews, and condemned the ever more widespread outbursts of anti-Semitism. With regard to this aspect of his apostolic action, several decades later Rabbi Ephraim of Bonn addressed a vibrant tribute to Bernard. In the same period the holy Abbot wrote his most famous works such as the celebrated Sermons on the Song of Songs [In Canticum Sermones]. In the last years of his life he died in 1153 Bernard was obliged to curtail his journeys but did not entirely stop travelling. He made the most of this time to review definitively the whole collection of his Letters, Sermons and Treatises. Worthy of mention is a quite unusual book that he completed in this same period, in 1145, when Bernardo Pignatelli, a pupil of his, was elected Pope with the name of Eugene III. On this occasion, Bernard as his spiritual father, dedicated to his spiritual son the text De Consideratione [Five Books on Consideration] which contains teachings on how to be a good Pope. In this book, which is still appropriate reading for the Popes of all times, Bernard did not only suggest how to be a good Pope, but also expressed a profound vision of the Mystery of the Church and of the Mystery of Christ which is ultimately resolved in contemplation of the mystery of the Triune God. "The search for this God who is not yet sufficiently sought must be continued", the holy Abbot wrote, "yet it may be easier to search for him and find him in prayer rather than in discussion. So let us end the book here, but not the search" (XIV, 32: PL 182, 808) and in journeying on towards God.

I would now like to reflect on only two of the main aspects of Bernard's rich doctrine: they concern Jesus Christ and Mary Most Holy, his Mother. His concern for the Christian's intimate and vital participation in God's love in Jesus Christ brings no new guidelines to the scientific status of theology. However, in a more decisive manner than ever, the Abbot of Clairvaux embodies the theologian, the contemplative and the mystic. Jesus alone Bernard insists in the face of the complex dialectical reasoning of his time Jesus alone is "honey in the mouth, song to the ear, jubilation in the heart (mel in ore, in aure melos, in corde iubilum)". The title Doctor Mellifluus, attributed to Bernard by tradition, stems precisely from this; indeed, his praise of Jesus Christ "flowed like honey". In the extenuating battles between Nominalists and Realists two philosophical currents of the time the Abbot of Clairvaux never tired of repeating that only one name counts, that of Jesus of Nazareth. "All food of the soul is dry", he professed, "unless it is moistened with this oil; insipid, unless it is seasoned with this salt. What you write has no savour for me unless I have read Jesus in it" (In Canticum Sermones XV, 6: PL 183, 847). For Bernard, in fact, true knowledge of God consisted in a personal, profound experience of Jesus Christ and of his love. And, dear brothers and sisters, this is true for every Christian: faith is first and foremost a personal, intimate encounter with Jesus, it is having an experience of his closeness, his friendship and his love. It is in this way that we learn to know him ever better, to love him and to follow him more and more. May this happen to each one of us!

In another famous Sermon on the Sunday in the Octave of the Assumption the Holy Abbot described with passionate words Mary's intimate participation in the redeeming sacrifice of her Son. "O Blessed Mother", he exclaimed, "a sword has truly pierced your soul!... So deeply has the violence of pain pierced your soul, that we may rightly call you more than a martyr for in you participation in the passion of the Son by far surpasses in intensity the physical sufferings of martyrdom" (14: PL 183, 437-438). Bernard had no doubts: "per Mariam ad Iesum", through Mary we are led to Jesus. He testifies clearly to Mary's subordination to Jesus, in accordance with the foundation of traditional Mariology. Yet the text of the Sermone also documents the Virgin's privileged place in the economy of salvation, subsequent to the Mother's most particular participation (compassio) in the sacrifice of the Son. It is not for nothing that a century and a half after Bernard's death, Dante Alighieri, in the last canticle of the Divine Comedy, was to put on the lips of the Doctor Mellifluus the sublime prayer to Mary: "Virgin Mother, daughter of your own Son, / humble and exalted more than any creature, / fixed term of the eternal counsel" (Paradise XXXIII, vv. 1 ff.).

These reflections, characteristic of a person in love with Jesus and Mary as was Bernard, are still a salutary stimulus not only to theologians but to all believers. Some claim to have solved the fundamental questions on God, on man and on the world with the power of reason alone. St Bernard, on the other hand, solidly founded on the Bible and on the Fathers of the Church, reminds us that without a profound faith in God, nourished by prayer and contemplation, by an intimate relationship with the Lord, our reflections on the divine mysteries risk becoming an empty intellectual exercise and losing their credibility. Theology refers us back to the "knowledge of the Saints", to their intuition of the mysteries of the living God and to their wisdom, a gift of the Holy Spirit, which become a reference point for theological thought. Together with Bernard of Clairvaux, we too must recognize that man seeks God better and finds him more easily "in prayer than in discussion". In the end, the truest figure of a theologian and of every evangelizer remains the Apostle John who laid his head on the Teacher's breast.

I would like to conclude these reflections on St Bernard with the invocations to Mary that we read in one of his beautiful homilies. "In danger, in distress, in uncertainty", he says, "think of Mary, call upon Mary. She never leaves your lips, she never departs from your heart; and so that you may obtain the help of her prayers, never forget the example of her life. If you follow her, you cannot falter; if you pray to her, you cannot despair; if you think of her, you cannot err. If she sustains you, you will not stumble; if she protects you, you have nothing to fear; if she guides you, you will never flag; if she is favourable to you, you will attain your goal..." (Hom. II super Missus est, 17: PL 183, 70-71). "

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Notes on the feasts of February

1 February  - St Ignatius (Class III)

St Ignatius of Antioch - Pope Benedict General AudienceMatins reading

St Brigid

2 February - Purification of the BVM (Class II)

Candlemas aka Feast of the Purification
Feast of the Purification/2

3 February – St Blase (Memorial)

St Blaise and the blessing of throats
St Blaise in the martyrology

4 February 

St Gilbert of Sempringham
St Rabanus Maurus OSB

5 February  – St Agatha (Class III)

St Agatha

6 February  

St Dorothy

7 February – St Romuald (Class III)

St Romuald OSB
St Romauald - Butler's lives

8 February

9 February 

10 February  - St Scholastica, sister of St Benedict (Class II; Class I for nuns)

St Scholastica
St Scholastica/2
St Scholastica (Martyrology entry)

11 February

St Benedict of Aniane OSB

12 February 

13 February 

14 February – St Valentine, memorial [in Europe: SS Cyril and Methodius]

St Valentine
St Antoinine of Sorrento OSB

15 February 

16 February 

17 February 

18 February 

19 February 

20 February

21 February 

St Peter Mavimenus (martyrology)

22 February  – Chair of St Peter, Class III

St Peter's Chair

23 February  - St Peter Damian, memorial  

St Peter Damian OSB

24 February or 25 Feb in leap year - St Matthias, Class II

St Matthias

25 February  - (in some places St Walburga, Class I)

St Walburga OSB

26 February  

27 February 

St Porphyrius (martyrology)

28 February 

St Florentina (from the martyrology)

29 February

St Romanus of Lyon

Monday, September 17, 2012

St Hildegarde of Bingen OSB (Ben/OF), Sept 17


Pope Benedict XVI formally declared St Hildegard a saint earlier this year, and extended her feast (which has long featured in the Benedictine calendar) to the universal Church. 

He also foreshadowed that she will be declared a Doctor of the Church next month, bringing the number of  Benedictines in that elect group (including St Bernard of Clairvaux) to five.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

St John Gualbert OSB (July 12)


St John Gualbert (985 - 1073) was a member of the Florentine nobility.

One Good Friday he was entering Florence accompanied by armed followers, when in a narrow lane he came upon a man who had killed his brother. He was about to kill the man in revenge, when the other fell upon his knees with arms outstretched in the form of a cross and begged for mercy in the name of Christ, who had been crucified on that day. John forgave him. He entered the Benedictine Church at San Miniato to pray, and the figure on the crucifix bowed its head to him in recognition of his generosity.

He became a Benedictine monk at San Miniato, but unwilling to compromise in the fight against simony, of which both his abbot and bishop were guilty, he left and settled at Vallombrosa, where he founded his monastery. 

The Congregation he founded was united with the Slyvestrines by 1680.