Friday, May 27, 2011

Apostle of England

Today is the memorial of St. Augustine of Canterbury. I have had a certain attraction to him since I first heard about six years ago. In my head I constantly get him confused with Anselm of Canterbury, the turn of the millennium French Benedictine who later took took the see Augustine founded. Augustine, a lat sixth century Benedictine, was sent to England from Rome by Pope St. Gregory the Great. Augustine initialized what would later become missionary monasticism, wherein the missions of the Church, which we usually connect with the mendicant orders and the Jesuits, were led by monks. St. Columban was an Irish monk who led the missionary monasticism from the north of the island. Augustine led from the south. Together they recoverted Scotland, England, and Whales, which was lost to paganism after the fall of Rome in 414. Augustine is known as the apostle of England, and indeed, he very much aided in bring Christianity back to the country. His see became the premier see in England, despite the largeness of London. It was held by such notable saints as Anselm and Thomas รข Becket.

England is now experiencing what it experienced nearly 1500 years ago, a return to the Catholic faith. The pope no longer sent a missionary to till the soil, water the crops, and reap. He was the missionary. I have a great love for that island my ancestry leads there. It is on the brink of overcoming the hubris of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, a nearly 500 year project.

St. Augustine of Cantuerbury, pray for your beloved England, that whole and entire she may return to the fold.

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