St Benedict, Patron of Europe

On this feastday (the lesser of the two in the Benedictine calendar) my mind always turns, not to Benedict himself, but to his Anglo-Saxon disciples. St Boniface, St Leoba of Wimborne and Tauberbischofsheim, that great crowd of Anglo-Saxon missionaries who crossed the sea to evangelize Frisia and the Germanic peoples, are, in an important sense, creators of the Europe we know today. With their reverence for Romanitas, their zeal, their friendship, they were true heirs of Benedict. They didn’t monasticize Europe, but they certainly laid the foundations of its Christian identity. We are in danger of losing that today. Europe is very far from being Christian in any sense, and we see the effects of that everywhere.

I shall be asking the prayers of our holy father Benedict to reinvigorate European monasticism — both streams, the male and the female — in the hope that we Benedictines can contribute something worthwhile to the new evangelisation. Perhaps you would join me in that prayer.

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