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St. Anselm Archbishop of Canterbury and Confessor

Feast day: April 21

St. Anselm was born of noble parents, at Aoust, in Piedmont, about the year 1033. His pious mother took care of him. At the age of fifteen, desirous of serving God in the monastic state, he petitioned an abbot to admit him into his house, but was refused out of apprehension of his father's displeasure.

After his mother's death, he left his own country.  At the age of twenty-seven, in 1060, he joined the monastery under the abbot Herluin. Three years after, he was made abbot of St. Stephen's, at Caen, and Anselm prior of Bec.

At this promotion several of the monks murmured on account of his youth, but, by patience and sweetness, he won the affections of them all.  He had a great knowledge of the hearts and passions of men. St. Anselm applied himself diligently to the study of every part of theology, by the clear light of scripture and tradition.

He traveled to Rome during a time when it was not safe to travel, on account of the antipope's party lying in the way. Anselm fell sick soon after, this made it necessary for him to stay longer at Lyons than he had designed. However, he left that city the March following, in 1098, on the pope's invitation, and was honorably received by him.  Anselm stayed some time at Rome with the pope, who always placed him next in rank to himself. All persons loved and honored him, and he assisted with distinction at the council of Rome, held after Easter, in 1099. Immediately after the Roman council he returned to Lyons, where he was entertained by the archbishop Hugh. Here he wrote his book, On the Conception of the Virgin, and On Original Sin, resolving many questions relating to that sin.

Amidst his troubles and public distractions he would retire to his devotions early in the day and stayed late into the night. At his meals, and at all times, he conversed with God.

One day as he was riding to his manor of Herse, a hare, pursued by the dogs, ran under his horse for refuge. The saint stopped, and the hounds stood at bay. The hunters laughed, but the saint said, weeping, "This hare puts me in mind of a poor sinner just upon the point of departing this life, surrounded with devils, waiting to carry away their prey." The hare going off, he forbade her to be pursued, and was obeyed, not a hound stirring after her.

In every instance served to raise his mind to God, with whom he always conversed in his heart.  In the midst of noise and tumult, he enjoyed the tranquility of holy contemplation.

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