Benedict XVI today sent a message for the 900 year anniversary of the death of St. Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury and doctor of the Church, whose feast day is celebrated today. In the letter, the Holy Father praised the saint’s wisdom and encouraged all people to draw close to him by studying his teachings on the Church.
"Recalling with a devoted heart the figure of this saint," writes the Pope in his Latin-language message addressed to Fr. Notker Wolf, abbot primate of the Benedictine Confederation, "we wish to exalt and illustrate the treasure of his wisdom so that the people of our time, especially Europeans, may draw close to him and receive his sound and abundant doctrine."
St. Anselm was born in Aosta, Italy, in 1033 and entered the monastery at the age of 27. Three years later, he was made a prior.
The saint is also known for his extensive writings in all areas of theology. They include: Monologium on the metaphysical proofs of the existence and nature of God; Proslogium, a contemplation of God's attributes; On Truth; On Freewill; On the Fall of the Devil (or On the Origin of Evil); On the Conception of the Virgin; On Original Sin; and a book on the art of reasoning called Grammarian.
In 1093, he was named Archbishop of Canterbury. He refused to accept the title until lands which had been taken from the Church by the king were returned and Urban II was acknowledged as the lawful Pope.
However, his time as bishop was frought with problems, leading him to govern Canterbury from Italy and France, from 1097 to 1109. Still, he continued to write, completing “Why God Was Made Man” and “On the Faith of the Trinity and Incarnation.”
St. Anselm died on April 21, 1109 and was name a Doctor of the Church in 1720.