Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Prayer for the Renewal of the Monastic Spirit


We beseech Thee, Almighty God, by the merits and example of our most holy Father BENEDICT, of his disciples, Saints PLACID and MAURUS, of his virgin sister, Saint SCHOLASTICA, and of all holy monks and nuns who have fought under his standard and leadership, to renew in us thy Holy Spirit, that we may conquer the world, the flesh, and the devil. And, since the palm of victory can be won only by the pain of battle, give unto us patience in adversity, constancy in tribulation, and prudence in danger. Grant us also, we beseech thee, the white robe of purity, the love of poverty, the victory of obedience, and perseverance in the way of righteousness; that, sustained by thy help and united in the bond of brotherly love, we may serve thee with our whole heart, and so pass through things temporal as finally to attain unto things eternal, unto the crown of victory and the blessed companionship of all holy monks. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

Saturday, 31 October 2015



1. St GENESIUS, Archbishop of Lyons (+668)
2. St BENNO, Founder of Clynnog Fawr (+ c.620)
3. St PIRMIN, Bishop, founder of several abbeys (+758)
4. St BERTILIA, Abbess of Chelles (+ 692)
5. St MALACHY, Archbishop of Armagh (+1148)
6. St WINOC, Abbot of Wornhout (+717)
7. St WILLIBRORD, Bishop of Utrecht, Apostle of Frisia (+ 738)
8. St GODFREY, Bishop of Amiens (+1118)
9. Ven HENRY, Bp of Luebeck (+1184)
10. St JUSTUS, Archbishop of Canterbury (+627)
11. Ven SERGIUS, Archbishop of Damascus (+981)
12. St EMILIAN, Abbot of St Millan in Spain (+574)
13. All Saints of the Benedictine Order 
ST ABBO, Abbot of Fleury (+1004)
14. All Souls of the Benedictine Order
15. St FINTAN, Monk of Rheinau (+878)
16. St OTHMAR, Abbot of St Gall's (+759)
17. ST GERTRUDE THE GREAT, Nun at Helfta (+1301) 
18. St ODO, Abbot of Cluny (+942)
19. St MECHTILDIS, Nun at Helfta (+1298)
20. St BERNWARD, Bishop of Hildesheim (+1022)
21. Presentation of the B.V.M., Patronal Feast of the Oblates 
Bl GELASIUS O’CULLENAN, Abbot at Boyle, Martyr (+1584)
22. Bl JOHN THORN and Bl ROGER JAMES, Monks of Glastonbury, Martyrs (+1539)
23. St GUIDO, Abbot at Casauria (+1045)
24. Bl BALSAMUS, Abbot of Cava (+1232)
25. Bl TUSSANUS, Prior at Cluny (+1420)
26. St SYLVESTER, FOUNDER of the Sylvestrines (+1167)
27. St VIRGIL, Archbishop of Salzburg (+780)
28. St GERMANUS, Prior of Taloire (11th Century)
29. St RADBOD, Bishop of Utrecht (+918) 
30. St ANGELO, Abbot at Palermo (+1380)


Ant. The souls of the Saints, who have followed in the footsteps of Christ, rejoice in heaven; and, because they have despised the world for love of him, therefore do they exult with Christ forever.

V. But the just shall live for evermore.
R. And their reward is with the Lord.

Let us pray
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that the example of the holy Monks may stir us to a better life: so that we may imitate the actions of those whose memory we celebrate. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Sunday, 11 October 2015

O caelestis norma vitae

This traditional antiphon, in honour of St Benedict, is sung after Compline at the monthly meetings of the Sodality.

The Prayers of Union

These are said at the monthly meeting of the Sodality.

Sancta Maria, succurre miseris, juva pusillanimes, refove flebiles, ora pro populo, interveni pro clero, inter­cede pro monachorum choro, exora pro devoto femineo sexu; sentiant omnes tuum juvamen, quicumque devote cele­brant tuum sanctum nomen.
V. Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei genitrix.
R. Ut digni efficiamus promissionibus Christi.
Concede nos famulos tuos, quaesumus Domine Deus, perpetua mentis et corporis sanitate gaudere: et gloriosa beatae Mariae semper Virginis intercession, a praesenti liberari tristitia, et aeterna perfrui laetitia. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Sanctissime Confessor Domini, monachorum Pater et Dux, Benedicte, intercede pro nostra omniumque salute.
V. Domine, Deus virtutum, converte nos.
R. Et ostende faciem tuam et salvi erimus.
Excita, Domine, in Ecclesia tua Spiritum, cui beatus Pater noster Benedictus Abbas servivit: ut, eodem nos repleti, studeamus amare quod amavit, et opere exercere quod docuit.
Da nobis, quaesumus, Domine, perservantem in tua voluntate famulatum, ut in diebus nostris et merito et numero populus tibi serviens augeatur. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. R. Amen.
O Holy Mary, give aid to the wretched, strengthen the faint­hearted, comfort the sorrowing, pray for the faithful, plead for the clergy, intercede for the choirs of monks, and pray for all good women vowed to God; may all experience thy help, who devoutly commem­orate thy holy name.
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worth of the promises of Christ.
Let us Pray.
Grant to us Thy servants, we beseech Thee, O Lord our God, to enjoy perpetual help of mind and body: and by the glorious intercession of Mary ever Virgin, to be delivered from present sorrows and to enjoy everlasting gladness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Most holy Confessor of the Lord, Father and Guide of monks, Bene­dict, intercede for our salvation, and that of all.
V. O Lord, God of might, turn us to Thee.
R. And show Thy face, and we shall be saved.
Let us pray.
Raise up, O Lord, in Thy Church, the Spirit with which our holy Fa­ther, the Abbot Bene­dict, was animated: that, filled with the same spirit, we may strive to love what he loved, and to practise what he taught.
Grant us, we beseech thee, O Lord, persever­ing submission to Thy holy will: that in our days the people dedi­cated to Thy service may increase both in merit and in number. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Benedictine Calendar for October



1 St Bavo, Abbot at Ghent (+ 654)

2. St Leodegar (Leger), Bishop of Autun, M (+ 678)
3. St Gerard, Abbot at Brogne (+ 959)
4. St Aurea, Abbess at Paris (+ 666)
5. St Placid, Disciple of St Benedict, and Companions MM (+ 546)
6. St Adalbero, Bishop of Augsburg (+ 909)
7. St Ositha, Abbess at Chich, M (+ 653)
8. Bl Compagnus, Monk at Padua (+ 1264)
9. Bl Gunther, Monk at Niederaltaich (+1045)
10. St Paulinus, Archbishop of York (+ 644)
11. St Ethelburga, Abbess at Barking (+ 705)
12.  St Wilfrid, Bishop of York (+ 709)
13. St Simpert, Bishop of Augsburg (+ 807)
14. St Burkard, Bishop of Wuerzburg (+ 752)
15. St Hedwig, Duchess of Silesia, Oblate (+ 1143)
St Thecla, Abbess at Kitzingen (+ c. 750)
16. St Gall, Abbot, Founder of St Gall's (+ 646)
17. St Anstrudis, Abbess at Laon (+ 688)
18. Ven Benno, Bishop of Hamburg, 5th Apostle to Wends (+ 1190)
19. St Frideswide, Abbess at Oxford (+790)
20. St Wendelin, Abbot of Tholey (+ 650)
21. St Wimo, Bishop of Bremen, Apostle to Goths (+ 936)
22. St Bertharius, Abbot of Monte Cassino (+ 884)
23. St Bernard, Bishop of Vich (+ 1243)
24. St Martin, Abbot of Vertou (+ 601)
25. St Hildemarca, Abbess at Fecamp (+ 670)
26. St Albuin, Bishop of Fritzlar (+ 787)
27. St Tetta, Abbess of Wimborne (+ 760)
28. Ven Egbert, Brother at Villers (+ ?)
29. St Elfleda, Abbess of Ramsey (+ 930)
30. St Egelnoth the Good, Archbishop of Canterbury (+ 1038)
31. St Wolfgang, Bishop of Regensburg (+ 994)

Ant. The souls of the Saints, who have followed in the footsteps of Christ, rejoice in heaven; and, because they have despised the world for love of him, therefore do they exult with Christ forever.

V. But the just shall live for evermore.
R. And their reward is with the Lord.

Let us pray
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that the example of the holy Monks may stir us to a better life: so that we may imitate the actions of those whose memory we celebrate. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Prayer to St Benedict

In the Revelations of St Gertrude (+1302) we read that St Benedict, in a vision to St Gertrude, promised to assist, against the attacks of the enemy in the hour of death, those who commemorate his privilege of dying while standing in prayer in the oratory of his monastery.

Stans in Oratorio, dilectus Domini Benedictus, Corpore et Sanguine Dominico munitus, inter discipulorum manus imbecillia membra sustentans, erectis in coelum manibus, inter verba orationis spiritum efflavit, qui per viam stratam palliis, et innumeris coruscam lampadibus, coelum ascendere visus est.

V. Gloriosus apparuisti in conspectu Domini.
R. Propterea decorem induit te Dominus.

Deus, qui pretiosam mortem sanctissimi Patris Benedicti tot tantisque privilegiis decorasti: concede, quaesumus: ut cujus memoriam recolimus, ejus in obitu nostro beata praesentia ab hostium muniamur insidiis. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Benedict, the beloved of our Lord, whilst standing in the Church, having been fortified with the Body and Blood of the Lord, supporting his failing limbs on the arms of his disciples, with his hands upraised to Heaven, breathed forth his soul amidst words of prayer, and was seen ascending into heaven by a path most richly hung with tapestry, and lit up with countless lamps.

V. Thou didst appear glorious in the sight of the Lord.
R. Therefore did he clothe thee with beauty.

O, God! who didst adorn the precious death of most holy Father Benedict with so many and so great privileges; grant we beseech thee, that at our death we may be defended from the snares of our enemies, by the blessed presence of him whose memory we celebrate. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

21st March, St Benedict, Abbot, Patriarch of Monks

St Benedict, Abbot, Patriarch of Monks

At every turning of history God raises up great saints in order to strengthen the supernatural hold over souls exercised by the Church in virtue of her divine mission.

The Roman Empire had crumbled down and the Barbarians had invaded the whole of Europe. Then appeared Benedict, as chief of the monks of the West. He was born at Nursia, in Umbria, in 480. Sent to Rome for his studies, but already endowed with the wisdom of age, says St. Gregory, he fled from the world to the solitude of Subiaco. After spending three years in a cave he attracted crowds by his virtues.

The great Roman families sent their children to him and he soon founded in the mountains twelve monasteries "schools for the Lord's service", where, under the direction of an Abbot, the monks learned, by the exercise of public prayer, of private prayer and of work, to forget self and live in God. St. Benedict, in the Holy Rule, orders the examination of novices to ascertain if they are full of solicitude for the work of God, for obedience and for humiliation".

As "idleness is the enemy of the soul'" the holy Law-giver adding example to his words, showed his disciples how they were to clear lands and hearts. Uniting manual labour "with constant preaching to the pagan population of Monte Cassino" he left to his sons the monastic motto: Ora et labora: pray and work.

Forty days after the death of his sister St. Scholastica, St. Benedict, standing at the foot of the altar where he had just, by holy Communion, taken part in the sacrifice of the Mass and of Calvary, and supported by his disciples who surrounded him, gave up to God his soul transfigured by 63 years of austere penance and of fidelity to the divine law which he kept in his heart (Introit). This was in 543.

Like Moses on Sinai (Epistle), Benedict on Monte Cassino was the Lawgiver of his people, and God established over His house this prudent servant (Communion). "The Holy Rule," as the Councils called it, "inspired by the same Spirit who has dictated the Sacred Canons" has sanctified thousands of souls which, especially during the six centuries when no other important Order existed in Europe left everything following the example of the glorious Patriarch of the West (Gospel), to enroll themselves in the militia of Christ under the Benedictine observance. (A recent commentator mentions 57,000 known Benedictine saints, of which 5,555 for Monte Cassino alone.) The first of his precepts recommends not to prefer anything to the liturgical worship in which adoration finds its most perfect expression.

(Italy and France in the seventh and eighth centuries were covered with monasteries which counted up to a thousand monks or nuns. Even then numerous laymen forming confraternities entered the institution of secular oblates which allowed them, as the Third Orders later did, to participate in all the merits of the Benedictine family. In 1780, says Godescard, the Order counted 30,000 houses. Reduced to 2000 after the Revolution to-day it counts with its branches over 14,000 subjects.)

St. Benedict is called the Doctor of humility. He was a prophet and wrought miracles and "was filled with the spirit of all the just" says St. Gregory. (His empire over devils is still exercesed nowadays by the medal of St. Benedtct which works wonders especially in missionary countries where Satan is most powerful.)

Among his sons are counted more than twenty popes, and an immense number of bishops, doctors, apostles, learned men and educators who have deserved well of humanity and of the Church. (Five sons of 8t. Benedict are numbered among the Doctors of the Church. St Augustine of Canterbury converted England; St. Boniface, Germany; St. Amandus, St. Willibrord, St. Anscharius and others brought to the faith more than twenty pagan nations.)

By his life he powerfully co-operated in the work of redemption and his glorious death has made him the patron of holy dying.

"Let us keep our lives in all purity so as to atone for and correct during the holy season of Lent all the negligences of other times." (Holy Rule, ch. 49).

Gaudeamus omnes in Domino, diem festum celebrantes sub honore sancti Benedicti Abbatis: de cujus solemnitate gaudent Angeli, et collaudant Filium Dei. * Magnus Dominus et laudabilis nimis: in civitate Dei nostri, in monte sancto ejus.
Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festival in honour of  the holy Abbot Benedict; at whose solemnity the Angels rejoice, and give praise to the Son of God. * Great is the Lord, and exceedingly to be praised: in the city of our God, in his holy mountain.
(Psalm 47:2 from the Introit of Mass, according to the proper Benedictine Usage)

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui hodierna die carnis eductum ergastulo sanctissimum sublevasti ad coelum: concede, quaesumus, haec festa tuis famulis celebrantibus cunctorum veniam delictorum; ut, qui exsultantibus animis ejus claritati congaudeant, ipso apud te interveniente consocientur et meritis.
O almighty and everlasting God, who didst this day deliver out of the prison of the flesh thy most holy Confessor Benedict and bear him up to heaven, grant, we beseech thee, thy servants, who are celebrating this festival, forgiveness for all sins, that in the gladness wherein they are united in rejoicing at his glory, they may by his intercession before thee partake also in his merits.
(Collect, according to the Benedictine usage)

Sequence for the Mass of St Benedict
(according to the Missale Monasticum)

Laeta quies magni ducis,
Dona ferens novae lucis,
Hodie recolitur.

Caris datur piae menti,
Corde sonet in ardenti,
Quidquid foris promitur.

Hunc per callem orientis
Admiremur ascendentis
Patriarchae speciem.

Amplum semen magnae prolis
Illum fecit instar solis
Abrahae persimilem.

Corvum cernis ministrantem,
Hinc Eliam latitantem
Specu nosce parvulo.

Elisaeus dignoscatur,
Cum securis revocatur
De torrentis alveo.

Illum Joseph candor morum,
Illum Jacob futurorum
Mens effecit conscia.

Ipse memor suae gentis,
Nos perducat in manentis.
Semper Christi gaudia.

Joyful rest of our leader, that brings the gift of a new light, we commemorate you today.

Grace is given the loving soul, may our ardent heart be united to the songs of our lips.

By the radiant way going up to the east, let us admire our Father rising to heaven, equal to the patriarchs.

His innumerable posterity, figure of the sun, made him like to Abraham.

See the crow serving him and recognize hence Elias hiding in a little cave.

Recognize Eliseus, when he bids return the axe from beneath the current.

It is Joseph through his life without stain; it is Jacob bringing future things to mind.

May he be mindful of his people, and may he lead us till we behold with him the eternal joys of Christ.

The sequence sung by the monks of Norcia:

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia on St Benedict: