|“I do not seek to understand that I may
believe but believe that I might understand.
For this too I believe since,
unless I first believe, I shall not understand.”
St. Anselm was a Benedictine monk, a Christian philosopher, and a scholar. Considered a Doctor of the Church, St. Anselm exercised the spiritual work of mercy through instruction. He is recognized for many intellectual accomplishments, including his application of reason in exploring the mysteries of faith and for his definition of theology as “faith seeking understanding.’
Born near Aosta, Italy in 1033, Anselm began learning from the monks at a local Benedictine monastery. In 1060, he joined the monastery of Bec in Normandy and began teaching in the abbey school. He was made prior of the monastery in 1063. Under Anselm’s direction, Bec became the foremost seat of learning in Europe.
In 1093, Anselm was summoned to England to become the archbishop of Canterbury. He showed great courage disputing English kings and freeing Canterbury from submission to them.
Many would argue, Anselm is most regarded for his writings. His highly respected works, Monologium, rationalizes proof of God’s existence while Proslogium advances the idea that God exists according to the human notion of a perfect being in whom nothing is lacking. Additionally, he wrote several philosophical and theological treatises as well as a series of beautiful prayers and meditations. Anselm maintained a strong allegiance to his monastic lifestyle and to his intellectual pursuits until his death in 1109.