St. Anslem

St. Anslem of CanterburySt. Anselm was born in the province of Piedmont in the year 1033 of a Catholic family. He was raised and instructed in the faith by his mother, and at the age of fifteen was filled with the desire to enter the monastery but barred due to the wishes of his father. Anselm followed up on his desire to enter the monastery twelve years later after a period of religious indifference and years of worldly living. Anselm joined the monastery at Bec in Normandy, France and within three years was elected abbot of the community.

During his life in the world Anselm gained a reputation as an original and independent thinker and was admired for his skill at teaching and gentleness. Under the guidance and inspiration of Anselm the monastery began a school at the monastery that soon became a theological and philosophical center of learning. At the request of his community Anselm began publishing his theological works. These soon spread around Europe and many of them are still available today.

St. Anslem

In the year of 1093 Anselm, against his will, was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury. His appointment was challenged at first by King William Rufus of England but eventually the king relented and allowed Anselm to take his position. Anselm worked to reform the clergy and monastic communities in his diocese but met with much difficulty from the king. Anselm realized that argument with the king was unavoidable so he voluntarily exiled himself from England until the death of the King. In the year 1100 the king died and Anselm was asked to return to England. Anselm soon got into a bitter disagreement with Henry I, the new king, and was exiled for three years to Rome.

Anselm returned to England for the remaining years of his life and was successful in enacting many reforms. One of the humanitarian reforms that have been attributed to his reign is a resolution prohibiting the sale of humans. St. Anselm died in 1109 and his writings are still used for theological and philosophical learning today.


O God, let me know you and love you so that I may find joy in you; and if I cannot do so fully in this life, let me at least make some progress every day, until at last that knowledge, love and joy come to me in all their plenitude. While I am here on earth let me know you fully; let my love for you grow deeper here, so that there I may love you fully. On earth then I shall have great joy in hope, and in heaven complete joy in the fulfillment of my hope.

O, Lord, through your Son you command us, no, you counsel us to ask, and you promise that you will hear us so that our joy may be complete. Give me then what you promise to give through your Truth. You, O God, are faithful; grant that I may receive my request, so that my joy may be complete.

-St. Anselm


"No one will have any other desire in heaven than what God wills; and the desire of one will be he desire of all; and the desire of all and of each one will also be the desire of God."

-St. Anselm


Proslogium; Monologium; An Appendix In Behalf of the Fool by Gaunilon

Close This Window