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St. Anselm of Canterbury

Sunday April 26, 2026

Who Is St. Anselm of Canterbury?

St. Anselm of Canterbury was a remarkable figure in medieval Christian theology and philosophy, known for his adherence to the monastic lifestyle and his willingness to stand up against powerful politicians. He was also a passionate advocate for the poor, speaking out against the slave trade and dedicating much of his life to helping those in need.

In addition to his advocacy work, St. Anselm was also a prolific writer, producing many influential works on the existence and nature of God. His most famous contribution to philosophy is his ontological argument for the existence of God, which continues to be debated and studied by scholars today. He also tackled the problem of evil, arguing that it is not a positive reality but rather the absence of good, and that it is the result of human free will.

In addition to his philosophical work, St. Anselm also made significant contributions to theology. He is particularly known for his work on the doctrine of the atonement. St. Anselm believed that human beings owed a debt to God because of their sin, and that this debt could only be paid through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. This theory of atonement, which is known as the satisfaction theory, continues to be a topic of discussion and debate among theologians today.

Despite his reluctance to take on a leadership role, St. Anselm was eventually appointed as the Archbishop of Canterbury. Even in this position of power, however, he remained committed to his principles and continued to speak out for what he believed in. His advocacy for the poor and his opposition to the slave trade continued throughout his life, and his teachings and writings continue to be a source of inspiration for many people today.

Overall, St. Anselm's life and work represent a powerful example of the importance of standing up for what is right, even in the face of opposition and adversity. His commitment to the monastic lifestyle, his writings on the nature of God, and his advocacy for the poor and marginalized continue to inspire people to this day.

Patron Saint of....

St. Anselm of Canterbury is the patron saint of philosophers and theologians.

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Daily Mass Readings for the Optional Memorial of Saint Anselm, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

  • First Reading Ephesians 3:14-19: A prayer by Paul the Apostle, in which he asks God to strengthen the Ephesians' faith, that they may be able to comprehend the vast love of Christ, and be filled with the fullness of God. The passage speaks to the richness and depth of God's love for humanity and the importance of striving to understand and experience it fully.
  • Responsorial PsalmPsalm 34: A psalm of praise and gratitude to God, where the psalmist declares their intention to bless the Lord and exalt His name forever. The psalmist also speaks of how the Lord hears the cries of the poor and delivers them, and how those who fear the Lord lack nothing good.
  • Gospel Matthew 7:21-29: Jesus warns his followers about false prophets and urges them to build their foundation on his teachings. He emphasizes the importance of not only hearing but also doing what he says, and concludes by comparing those who follow his teachings to a wise builder who builds their house on a solid foundation.

Anselm’s Prayer – Teach My Heart Where and How to Seek You

St. Anselm of Canterbury was a Benedictine monk and theologian. His feast day is April 21. Anselm’s Prayer is a good prayer to say before reading scripture. It would also work well will a discussion of discernment or discipleship.

Quote and Social Media Graphic

Disasters teach us humility.

St. Anselm of Canterbury

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