Reference > Rev. Alban Butler > Lives of the Saints > March
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Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume III: March.
The Lives of the Saints.  1866.
 
March 18
St. Anselm, Bishop of Lucca, Confessor
 
HE was a native of Mantua, and was educated there in grammar and dialectic. Having entered himself among the clergy, he spent some time in the study of theology and the canon law, and laid that foundation of learning, which, joined with his natural genius and eminent virtue, qualified him to rise to the highest degree of excellence. Anselm Badagius, a Milanese, bishop of Lucca, was chosen pope in 1061, and took the name of Alexander II. He nominated our saint his successor in the see of Lucca; and he took a journey into Germany to the emperor, Henry IV., but out of a scruple refused to receive the investiture of the bishopric from that prince, so that the pope was obliged to keep in his own hands the administration of the see of Lucca. St. Gregory VII., who succeeded Alexander II., in 1073, ordered Anselm to receive the investiture from Henry. This compliance gave our saint such remorse, that he left his see, and took the monastic habit at Cluni. The pope obliged him to return to his bishopric, which he did. His zeal soon raised him enemies: by virtue of a decree of Pope Gregory IX. he attempted to reform the canons of his cathedral, and to oblige them to live in community: this they obstinately refused to do, though they were interdicted by the pope, and afterwards excommunicated in a council, in which Peter Igneus, the famous bishop of Albano, presided in the name of his holiness. The holy countess Maud undertook to expel the refractory canons, but they raised a sedition, and, being supported by the emperor Henry, drove the bishop out of the city, in 1079. St. Anselm retired to the countess Maud, whose director he was; for he was eminently experienced in the paths of an interior life, and, in the greatest hurry of business, he always reserved several hours in the day, which he consecrated to prayer, and attended only to God and himself. Whilst he studied or conversed with others, his heart was virtually united to God, and every object served as it were naturally to raise his affections afresh to his Creator. Pope Gregory suffered him not to bury himself in his retreat, but, during his exile, appointed him apostolic legate in Lombardy, charging him with the care of several diocesses in those parts, which, through the iniquity of the times, had continued long vacant. St. Anselm wrote an apology for Gregory VII. in which he shows that it belongs not to temporal princes to give pastors to the church of Christ, and to confute the pretensions of the antipope, Guibert. 1 In another work he proves, that temporal princes cannot dispose of the revenues of the church. St. Anselm died at Mantua, on the 18th of March, in 1086. His name occurs on this day in the Roman Martyrology, and he is honoured at Mantua as patron of that city. Baldus, his penitentiary, has written his life, in which he ascribes to him several miracles. See it in Canisius’s Lect. Antiq. t. 3. p. 372.  1
 
Note 1. This work is published by Canisius, Lect. Antiq. t. 3. p. 389. and Bibl. Patr. Lugdun. t. 18. Colon. t. 10. [back]
 
 
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