CNA REPORT: A new Hallmark TV movie premiering on April 24 chronicles the true story of renowned Utah educator Stacey Bess and her work in teaching homeless children who had been nearly abandoned by the local educational system.
“I hope that all people, including teachers, will realize that it does not take any special skill or training to make an impact on the life of a child,” she told CNA on April 19. “All we really need to do is care.”
Based on Bess's 1994 book, “Nobody Don't Love Nobody,” Hallmark Hall of Fame’s “Beyond the Blackboard” TV movie will air on CBS this Sunday, April 24 at 9 p.m. Eastern time.
The film depicts a 24 year-old Bess in 1987 – at the time, a pregnant mother of two – who seeks a teaching job in the Salt Lake City school district shortly after earning her teacher’s certification.
The school year already underway, Bess is offered a job teaching first through sixth grades at a homeless facility. Her makeshift “school” has no desks, no books, no supplies, and no name.
What follows is Bess's remarkable effort to transform what was considered a mere holding tank for eventual delinquents into a thriving, educational community for the children and their families.
“Having a movie based on your book is hard enough, then add that it is a portrayal of your real life,” Bess said. “I trusted Hallmark completely because I knew that they believed in what I believe in. Together we desire to inspire the audience to step out of their comfort zone and make a difference in the life of a child.”
Bess noted the differences in the film as compared to her book and life story. Even though she taught at “The School with No Name” for 11 years, the events in the movie were compressed “into my first year of teaching, so I had to adjust to the timing in the movie being different than the timing in the book,” she said.
In the long run, Bess said she learned that “all of that did not matter as long as the truth of the story was told.”
Bess's character is portrayed in the film by 24 year-old actress Emily VanCamp, known for her roles in “Everwood” and the hit series “Brothers & Sisters.”
“I think the main reason that I was really drawn to this role was the idea that I could help to shed more light on Stacey's incredible story,” VanCamp told CNA in an April 20 interview.
“She is such a huge inspiration and reminds us that one person truly can make a difference. No child should ever be left behind regardless of their circumstances,” she said. “As an actress it is always wonderful to be able to combine story telling with a great cause, so taking this role was a no brainer for me.”
VanCamp said that the “experience of filming this project was amazing. The kids were so lovely and talented and we had such a great crew of people who were equally as touched by the story as I was.”
“We all wanted to do the story justice and make Stacey proud. I hope that we did.”
VanCamp added that she “loved meeting Stacey. I love her energy and she has such a great sense of humor. It was an honor to meet her and to be able to play her.”
Bess echoed the enthusiasm, saying that “Emily Van Camp was the perfect match for me. She understood me completely.”
Bess, a Latter Day Saints member and mother of six, said that her education by nuns in England when she was a child helped instill a love for learning, and reinforced the importance of faith in her life.
“When I was 4 years old I lived in Leeds, England,” she recalled. “The American children, whose parents worked for the government, were driven to a private Catholic school. I was fortunate to be there for a few years until we came back to the states.
“My favorite memories were of the nuns leading us into one of my favorite songs, 'Go tell it on the Mountain,'” she said. “Later In life I remember younger siblings who did not go to the private Catholic school heard me singing this beloved song and asked, 'Where in the world did you learn that song?' I told them that I have fond memories of the nuns leading us into each day with The Lords Prayer and 'Go tell it on the Mountain.”
“I can't imagine a better way to start a day than to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is our savior,” Bess said.
Emily VanCamp in "Beyond the Blackboard"
On her tireless work in service to homeless children, Bess said “I have always felt like there was a plan for me. My experiences both difficult and amazing prepared me to rub shoulders with these people.”
“I knew what fear was. I knew what humiliation felt like, and I also knew that I was a child of God,” she said.
“It was that knowledge that helped me plow through the difficult and use the lessons learned to bless the lives of others. I guess you could say that all of my story both the good and bad are blessings that I was able to draw on when faced with whether I should step out of my comfort zone and serve or stand back,” Bess added.
“I chose to step up in behalf of a child.”
CNS REPORT: By Simon Caldwell
It's a brave decision for the Ian Hellyer to give up his job when he has to provide for eight children and his wife is pregnant with the couple's ninth child.
But Hellyer is losing no sleep over his decision. He believes he is answering God's call to become a Catholic priest in the newly created Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.
On Palm Sunday, he formally gave up his 20,000-pound ($33,000) yearly salary as rector of four Church of England parishes in the Dartmoor area of southwest England.
On Holy Thursday, during the Mass of the Lord's Supper at the Benedictine Buckfast Abbey in Devon, he was to be confirmed by Abbot David Charlesworth. His wife, Margaret, and children, who are already Catholic, were his sponsors.
Hellyer then will make his first Communion as a Catholic, joined by 12 members of the ordinariate group he will lead after his ordination to the Catholic priesthood June 17. The small faith community will be based at the abbey.
"I truly feel that this is God's call, and there has been nothing to make me think that it isn't," he toldCatholic News Service April 20.
"It has been a wonderful, wonderful journey," he said. "There are some practical issues that haven't been resolved, but I don't worry that they are not going to be resolved."
With two of his oldest children preparing for final high school and college entrance exams and a baby due at the end of May, the first issue to address might be finding a home.
In the meantime, the Church of England has come to the rescue. The Number 1 Trust, a charity established in the days of the Blessed John Henry Newman's Oxford Movement to further the teaching and practice of the Catholic faith within the Church of England, has allowed the family to live rent free at their present residence -- St. John's Vicarage in Bovey Tracey -- until the end of August.
Then there is the question of income. Because of its size, the family is eligible to receive cash benefits from the government and tax credits.
But Hellyer, 45, is preparing to change his status as an employee to one who is, in effect, self-employed, and he knows the challenges that it will present.
It means that instead of a receiving a salary he will be supported by contributions of members of the ordinariate as well payments he may derive from work he undertakes for the Catholic Diocese of Plymouth. He said he is relaxed about the situation.
"We are not absolutely desperate," he explained. "We have financial resources we can draw on and people have been generous and given us large sums of money.
"The parish I left behind had a large collection and gave us a very large gift, and other people have been very generous toward us," he added. "We are not too worried about making ends meet with paying bills and putting food on the table."
Msgr. Keith Newton, who heads the ordinariate, has assured Anglican clergy entering the Catholic Church with the intention of being ordained that funds would be available for anyone in need.
Some of the funds come from the initial 250,000 pounds given to the ordinariate by the Catholic bishops of England and Wales. An additional 100,000 pounds was donated April 15 by the St. Barnabas Society, a Catholic charity established to support clergy entering the Catholic Church from non-Catholic Christian denominations.
Such clergy "are making great sacrifices," Msgr. Newton said a statement welcoming the gift. "It is a relief to know that the St. Barnabas Society is so willing to help in cases of financial need."
A native of Plymouth, England, Hellyer was ordained an Anglican minister in 1995. He told CNS that, at that time, his college was accepting female applicants to the priesthood and he was comfortable with it.
His opinions on women's ordination evolved in 2001 as he began to question the catholicity of the Church of England in the light of the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church. From that point, he explained, he understood that he was "on a journey to greater communion with the Catholic Church."
In November 2009 when Pope Benedict XVI released his apostolic constitution "Anglicanorum coetibus," which allows the group reception of former Anglicans into the Catholic Church, he said, "it seemed to me quite clear that that's where God wanted me to go."
Hellyer said the reaction to his decision to join the Catholic Church has not met with "any animosity at all" from members of his Anglican congregations.
"People have questions and are interested to know why, and I have been able to explain that, but there has been no negativity to me at all, which I am very grateful for," he said.
He said that he had been greatly moved by the warmth of ordinary Catholics who had sent him many messages of support.
"My hope for the future is that the ordinariate really becomes part of the new evangelization of this country," he said. "That is something that really excites me."
The number of volunteers registered at the Sendai Diocese Support Center (SDSC) climbed above 500 on Monday, giving a welcome boost to Church relief efforts following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.
Caritas Japan, the official aid organization of the Catholic bishops’ conference, has been engaged in relief activities in areas devastated by the disaster, which struck on March 11.
Much of its efforts depends on how many volunteers the support center can muster.
“[Our role] is to support the operations of the Sendai Diocese Support Center one hundred percent,” said Bishop Isao Kikuchi of Niigata, president of Caritas Japan, referring to the emergency unit established on March 18.
A constant rotation of Caritas Japan workers help staff the SDSC.
“It’s necessary for organizations like the support center to provide volunteers with safe transportation, to arrange everything so that they can work efficiently, and to extend the reach of the volunteers into new areas,” Bishop Kikuchi said.
“Also, those going out on volunteer missions need to be provided with basic essentials, so staff members are needed to ensure that happens. Of course, it also takes money. Some of the responsibility [for the manpower and money] falls on us. We are very grateful for everyone’s donations,” he added.
Caritas Japan is also supporting relief efforts which are under way in other dioceses, and aid organizations working in the area. They have already received a variety of requests, which they examine to decide what assistance they can provide.
Meanwhile, Sapporo diocese has been in contact with the SDSC and established a similar base of volunteer operations for itself at Miyako Church in Iwate Prefecture.
Lying near the northern tip of Honshu, Iwate does not fall within Sapporo diocese, but since the disaster, some areas are easier to access from Hokkaido than from more southern regions.
Seven Sapporo volunteers went to Miyako April 12-15 as an advance team led by the Vicar General of Sapporo diocese, Father Masahiro Uesugi.
On Monday, Sapporo sent another six people to Miyako, who at present, are still hard at work there.
"Yesterday, I met some journalists and NGOs operators from London, who wanted to know the needs of the population”, says the Apostolic Vicar. "One thing struck me about this meeting: I was asked me to tell the truth about the situation in Libya, because it is believed that many lies have been told about Libya in this period. I replied - continues Bishop Martinelli - I can only report on things that I have personally experienced in recent weeks. What the international media say, I cannot certify because I have not experienced it directly. Certainly there has been prejudice against the Libyan leadership and decisions have been made rashly. But above all, war began without any attempt to try diplomatic channels, while there were margins and space to do so. This is what upset me most”.
"In 40 years service in Libya, I can say that we have had no problems to serve the Catholic communities around the country. I have had no difficulty in assisting the sick and the people who have taken care of them. The doctors and nurses working in Libya are mostly Christians, have had no particular difficulties. So I cannot deny the experience I have lived here in 40 years with my flock, who serve the Libyan society with dedication" says the Apostolic Vicar.
"The Libyans are Muslim observants, not fanatics, and very open to others, particularly to Christians. We have got to know each other through service to individuals, social service that we have offered to the Libyan population. Much of the Christians who have remained in Libya have done so because they believe in the service they do and are convinced that the Libyans appreciate this service. War cannot destroy this relationship”.
"Certainly the crisis could have been avoided if more attention had been given to the needs of young people. But the war certainly does not solve a social crisis such as this. In fact, it risks in creating a destructive spiral from which it is difficult to escape” says Bishop Martinelli. "I thank the Holy Father for his words and his closeness in prayer" says the Apostolic Vicar.
DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH, ARCHBISHOP
Feast: April 21
If the Norman conquerors stripped the English nation of its liberty and many temporal advantages, it must be owned that by their velour they raised the reputation of its arms and deprived their own country of its greatest men, both in church and state, with whom they adorned this kingdom; of which this great doctor and his master Lanfranc are instances. St. Anselm was born of noble parents at Aoust, in Piedmont, about the year 1033. His pious mother took care to give him an early tincture of piety, and the impressions her instructions made upon him were as lasting as his life. At the age of fifteen, desirous of serving God in the monastic state, he petitioned an abbot to admit him into his house; but was refused out of apprehension of his father's displeasure. Neglecting, during the course of his studies, to cultivate the divine seed in his heart, he lost this inclination, and his mother being dead he fell into tepidity; and, without being sensible of the fatal tendency of vanity and pleasure, began to walk in the broad way of the world: so dangerous a thing is it to neglect the inspirations of grace! The saint, in his genuine meditations, expresses the deepest sentiments of compunction for these disorders, which his perfect spirit of penance exceedingly exaggerated to him, and which, like another David, he never ceased most bitterly to bewail to the end of his days. The ill-usage he met with from his father induced him, after his mother's death, to leave his own country, where he had made a successful beginning in his studies; and, after a diligent application to them for three years in Burgundy (then a distinct government) and in France, invited by the great fame of Lanfranc, Prior of Bec, in Normandy, under the Abbot Herluin, he went thither and became his scholar. On his father's death, Anselm advised with him about the state of life he was to embrace; as whether he should live upon his estate to employ its produce in alms, or should renounce it at once and embrace a monastic and eremitical life. Lanfranc, feeling an overbearing affection for so promising a disciple, durst not advise him in his vocation, fearing the bias of his own inclination; but he sent him to Maurillus, the holy Archbishop of Rouen. By him Anselm, after he had laid open to him his interior, was determined to enter the monastic state at Bec, and accordingly became a member of that house at the age of twenty-seven, in 1060, under the Abbot Herluin. Three years after, Lanfranc was made Abbot of St. Stephen's at Caen, and Anselm Prior of Bec. At this promotion several of the monks murmured on account of his youth; but, by patience and sweetness, he won the affections of them all, and by little condescensions at first, so worked upon an irregular young monk, called Osbern, as to perfect his conversion and make him one of the most fervent. He had indeed so great a knowledge of the hearts and passions of mete, that he seemed to read their interior in their actions; by which he discovered the sources of virtues and vices, and knew how to adapt to each proper advice and instructions; which were rendered most powerful by the mildness and charity with which he applied them. In regard to the management and tutoring of youth, he looked upon excessive severity as highly pernicious. Eadmer has recorded a conversation he had on this subject with a neighbouring abbot, who, by a conformity to our saint's practice and advice in this regard, experienced that success in his labours which he had till then aspired to in vain by harshness and severity.
St. Anselm applied himself diligently to the study of every part of theology, by the clear light of scripture and tradition. Whilst he was prior at Bec, he wrote his Monologium, so called because in this work he speaks alone, explaining the metaphysical proofs of the existence and nature of God. Also his Proslogium, or contemplation of God's attributes in which he addresses his discourse to God, or himself. The Meditations, commonly called the Manual of St. Austin, are chiefly extracted out of this book. It was censured by a neighboring monk, which occasioned the saint's Apology. These and other the like works, show the author to have excelled in metaphysics all the doctors of the church since St. Austin. He likewise wrote, whilst prior, On Truth, on Free-will, and On the Fall of the Devil, or, On the Origin of Evil; also his Grammarian, which is in reality a treatise on Dialectic, or the Art of Reasoning.
Anselm's reputation drew to Bec great numbers from all the neighbouring kingdoms. Herluin dying in 1078, he was chosen Abbot of Bec, being forty-five years old, of which he had been prior fifteen. The abbey of Bec being possessed at that time of some lands in England, this obliged the abbot to make his appearance there in person at certain times. This occasioned our saint's first journeys thither, which his tender regard for his old friend Lanfranc, at that time Archbishop of Canterbury, made the more agreeable. He was received with great honour and esteem by all ranks of people, both in church and state, and there was no one who did not think it a real misfortune if he had not been able to serve him in something or other. King William himself, whose title of Conqueror rendered him haughty and inaccessible to his subjects, was so affable to the good Abbot of Bec that he seemed to be another man in his presence. The saint, on his side, was all to all, by courtesy and charity, that he might find occasions of giving everyone some suitable instructions to promote their salvation; which were so much the more effectual as he communicated them, not as some do, with the dictatorial air of a master, but in a simple familiar manner, or by indirect though sensible examples. In the year 1092, Hugh, the great Earl of Chester, by three pressing messages, entreated Anselm to come again into England, to assist him, then dangerously sick, and to give his advice about the foundation of a monastery which that nobleman had undertaken at St. Wereburge's church at Chester. A report that he would be made archbishop of Canterbury, in the room of Lanfranc, deceased, made him stand off for some time; but he could not forsake his old friend in his distress, and at last came over. He found him recovered, but the affairs of his own abbey, and of that which the earl was erecting, detained him five months in England. The metropolitan see of Canterbury had been vacant ever since the death of Lanfranc in 1089. The sacrilegious and tyrannical king, William Rufus, who succeeded his father in 1087, by an injustice unknown till his time, usurped the revenues of vacant benefices, and deferred his permission, or
Anselm had not been long in possession of the see of Canterbury when the king, intending to wrest the duchy of Normandy out of the hands of his brother Robert, made large demands on his subjects for supplies. On this occasion, not content with the five hundred pounds (a very large sum in those days) offered him by the archbishop, the king insisted, at the instigation of some of his courtiers, on a thousand, for his nomination to the archbishopric, which Anselm constantly refused to pay; pressing him also to fill vacant abbeys and to consent that bishops should hold councils as formerly, and be allowed by canons to repress crimes and abuses, which were multiplied and passed into custom for want of such a remedy, especially incestuous marriages and other abominable debaucheries. The king was extremely provoked, and declared no one should extort from him his abbeys any more than his crown. And from that day he sought to deprive Anselm of his see. William, Bishop of Durham, and the other prelates, acquiesced readily in the king's orders, by which he forbade them to obey him as their primate, or treat him as archbishop, alleging for reason that he obeyed Pope Urban during the schism, whom the English nation had not acknowledged. The king, having brought over most of the bishops to his measures, applied to the temporal nobility, and bid them disclaim the archbishop; but they resolutely answered that since he was their archbishop and had a right to superintend the affairs of religion, it was not in their power to disengage themselves from his authority, especially as there was no crime or misdemeanour proved against him. King William then, by his ambassador, acknowledged Urban for true pope, and promised him a yearly pension from England if he would depose Anselm; but the legate whom his holiness sent told that king that it was what could not be done. St. Anselm wrote to the pope to thank him for the pall he had sent him by that legate, complaining of the affliction in which he lived under a burden too heavy for him to bear, and regretting the tranquillity of his solitude which he had lost. Finding the king always seeking occasions to oppress his church unless he fed him with its treasures, which he regarded as the patrimony of the poor (though he readily furnished his contingent in money and troops to his expeditions and to all public burdens), the holy prelate earnestly desired to leave England, that he might apply in person to the pope for his counsel and assistance. The king refused him twice: and on his applying to him a third time, he assured the saint that, if he left that kingdom, he would seize upon the whole revenue of the see of Canterbury, and that he should never more be acknowledged metropolitan. But the saint, being persuaded he could not in conscience abide any longer in the realm to be a witness of the oppression of the church, and not have it in his power to remedy it, set out from Canterbury in October 1097, in the habit of a pilgrim; took shipping at Dover and landed at Witsan, having with him two monks, Eadmer, who wrote his life, and Baldwin. He made some stay at Cluni with St. Hugh the abbot, and at Lyons with the good Archbishop Hugh. It not being safe travelling any further towards Rome at that time on account of the antipope's party lying in the way, and Anselm falling sick soon after, this made it necessary for him to stay longer at Lyons than he had designed. However, he left that city the March following, in 1098, on the pope's invitation, and was honourably received by him. His holiness having heard his cause, assured him of his protection, and wrote to the king of England for his re-establishment in his rights and possessions. Anselm also wrote to the king at the same time; and, after ten days' stay in the pope's palace, retired to the monastery of St. Saviour, in Calabria, the air of Rome not agreeing with his health. Here he finished his work, entitled Why God was made Man, in two books, showing, against infidels, the wisdom, justice, and expediency of the mystery of the incarnation for man's redemption. He had begun this work in England, where he also wrote his book, On the Faith of the Trinity and Incarnation, dedicated to Pope Urban II, in which he refuted Roscelin, the master, Peter Abailard, who maintained an erroneous opinion in regard to the Trinity. Anselm, charmed with the sweets of his retirement, and despairing of doing any good at Canterbury, hearing by new instances that the king was still governed by his passions, in open defiance to justice and religion, earnestly entreated the pope, whom he met at Aversa, to discharge him of his bishopric; believing he might be more serviceable to the world in a private station. The pope would by no means consent, but charged him upon his obedience not to quit his station: adding, that it was not the part of a man of piety and courage to be frightened from his post purely by the dint of browbeating and threats, that being all the harm he had hitherto received. Anselm replied, that he was not afraid of suffering, or even losing his life in the cause of God; but that he saw there was nothing to be done in a country where justice was so overruled as it was in England. However, Anselm submitted and in the mean time returned to his retirement, which was a cell called Slavia, situated on a mountain, depending on the monastery of St. Saviour. That he might live in the merit of obedience, he prevailed with the pope to appoint the monk Eadmer, his inseparable companion, to be his superior, nor did he do the least thing without his leave.
The pope having called a council, which was to meet at Bari, in October 1098, in order to effect a reconciliation of the Greeks with the Catholic Church, ordered the saint to be present at it. It consisted of one hundred and twenty-three bishops. The Greeks having proposed the question about the procession of the Holy Ghost, whether this was from the Father only, or from the Father and the Son; the disputation being protracted, the pope called aloud for Anselm, saying, "Anselm, our father and our master, where are you?" And causing him to sit next to him, told him that the present occasion required his learning and elocution to defend the church against her enemies, and that he thought God had brought him thither for that purpose. Anselm spoke to the point with so much learning, judgment, and penetration that he silenced the Greeks and gave such a general satisfaction that all present joined in pronouncing Anathema against those that should afterwards deny the procession of the Holy Ghost from both the Father and the Son. This affair being at an end, the proceedings of the King of England fell next under debate. And on this occasion his simony, his oppressions of the church, his persecution of Anselm, and his incorrigibleness, after frequent admonitions, were so strongly represented that the pope, at the instance of the council, was just going to pronounce him excommunicated. Anselm had hitherto sat silent, but at this he rose up, and casting himself on his knees before the pope, entreated him to stop the censure. And now the council, who had admired our saint for his parts and learning, were further charmed with him on account of his humane and Christian dispositions in behalf of one that had used him so roughly. The saint's petition in behalf of his sovereign was granted; and on the council breaking up, the pope and Anselm returned to Rome. The pope, however, sent to the king a threat of excommunication, to be issued in a council to be shortly after held at Rome, unless he made satisfaction: but the king, by his ambassador, obtained a long delay. Anselm stayed some time at Rome with the pope, who always placed him next in rank to himself. All persons, even the schismatics, loved and honored him; and he assisted with distinction at the council of Rome, held after Easter, in 1099. Immediately after the Roman council he returned to Lyons, where he was entertained by the archbishop Hugh, with all the cordiality and regard imaginable; but saw no hopes of recovering his see so long as king William lived. Here he wrote his book, On the Conception of the Virgin, and On Original Sin resolving many questions relating to that sin. The archbishop of Lyons gave him in all functions the precedence, and all thought themselves happy who could receive any sacrament from his hands. Upon the death of Urban II, he wrote an account of his case to his successor, Pascal II. King William Rufus being snatched away by sudden death, without the sacraments, on the 2nd of August 1100, St. Anselm, who was then in the abbey of Chaize-Dieu, in Auvergne, lamented bitterly his unhappy end and made haste to England, whither he was invited by King Henry I. He landed at Dover on the 23rd of September and was received with great joy and extraordinary respect. And having in a few days recovered the fatigue of his journey, went to wait on the king, who received him very graciously. But this harmony was of no long continuance. The new king required of Anselm to be reinvested by him, and do the customary homage of his predecessors for his see; but the saint absolutely refused to comply and made a report on the proceedings of the late synod at Rome, in which the laity that gave investitures for abbeys or cathedrals were excommunicated; and those that received such investures were put under the same censure. But this not satisfying the king, it was agreed between them to consult the pope upon the subject. The court in the meantime was very much alarmed at the preparations making by the king's elder brother, Robert, Duke of Normandy, who, being returned from the holy war in Palestine, claimed the crown of England and threatened to invade the land. The nobles, though they had sworn allegiance to Henry, were ready to join him; and on his landing with a formidable army at Portsmouth, several declared for the duke. The king being in great danger of losing his crown, was very liberal in promises to Anselm on this occasion; assuring him that he would henceforward leave the business of religion wholly to him, and be always governed by the advice and orders of the apostolic see. Anselm omitted nothing on his side to prevent a revolt from the king. Not content with sending his quota of armed men, he strongly represented to the disaffected nobles the heinousness of their crime of perjury; and that they ought rather lose their lives than break through their oaths and fail in their sworn allegiance to their prince. He also published an excommunication against Robert, as an invader, who thereupon came to an accommodation with Henry and left England. And thus, as Eadmer relates, the archbishop, strengthening the king's party, kept the crown upon his head. Amidst his troubles and public distractions, he retired often in the day to his devotions, and watched long in them in the night. At his meals, and at all times, he conversed interiorly in heaven. One day, as he was riding to his manor of Herse, a hare, pursued by the dogs, ran under his horse for refuge; at which the saint stopped and the hounds stood at bay. The hunters laughed, but the saint said, weeping, "This hare puts me in mind of a poor sinner just upon the point of departing this life, surrounded with devils waiting to carry away their prey." The hare going off, he forbade her to be pursued and was obeyed, not a hound stirring after her. In like manner every object served to raise his mind to God, with whom he always conversed in his heart, and, in the midst of noise and tumult, he enjoyed the tranquillity of holy contemplation—so strongly was his soul sequestered from, and raised above, the world.
King Henry, though so much indebted to Anselm, still persisted in his claim of the right of giving the investitures of benefices. Anselm, in 1102, held a national council in St. Peter's church at Westminster, in which, among other things, it was forbid to sell men like cattle, which had till then been practiced in England; and many canons relating to discipline were drawn up. He persisted to refuse to ordain bishops, named by the king, without a canonical election. The contest became every day more serious. At last the king and nobles persuaded Anselm to go in person and consult the pope about the matter: the king also sent a deputy to his holiness. The saint embarked on the 27th of April in 1103. Pope Pascal II condemned the king's pretensions to the investitures and excommunicated those who should receive church dignities from him. St. Anselm being advanced on his return to England as far as Lyons, received there an intimation of an order from King Henry, forbidding him to proceed on his journey home unless he would conform to his will. He therefore remained at Lyons, where he was much honoured by his old friend the Archbishop Hugh. From thence he retired to his abbey of Bec, where he received from the pope a commission to judge the cause of the Archbishop of Rouen, accused of several crimes. He was also allowed to receive into communion such as had accepted investitures from the crown, which, though still disallowed of, the bishops and abbots were so far dispensed with as to do homage for their temporalities. The king was so pleased with this condescension of the pope that he sent immediately to Bec to invite St. Anselm home in the most obliging manner, but a grievous sickness detained him. The king coming over into Normandy in 1106, articles of agreement were drawn up between him and the arch bishop at Bec, pursuant to the letter St. Anselm had received from Rome a few months before; and the pope very readily confirmed the agreement. In this expedition Henry defeated his brother Robert, and sent him prisoner into England, where he died. St. Anselm hereupon returned to England in 1106, and was received by the Queen Maud, who came to meet him, and by the whole kingdom of England, as it were in triumph.
The last years of his life, his health was entirely broken. Having for six months laboured under an hectic decay, with an entire loss of appetite, under which disorder he would be carried every day to assist at holy mass, he happily expired, laid on sackcloth and ashes, at Canterbury, on the 21st of April 1109, in the sixteenth year of his episcopal dignity, and of his age the seventy-sixth. He was buried in his cathedral. By a decree of Clement XI, in 1720 he is honoured among the doctors of the church. We have authentic accounts of many miracles wrought by this saint in the histories of Eadmer and others. St. Anselm had a most lively faith of all the mysteries and great truths of our holy religion; and by the purity of his heart, and an interior divine light, he discovered great secrets in the holy scriptures, and had a wonderful talent in explaining difficulties which occur in them. His hope for heavenly things gave him a wonderful contempt and disgust of the vanities of the world, and he could truly say with the apostle, he was crucified to the world, and all its desires. By an habitual mortification of his appetite in eating and drinking he seemed to have lost all relish in the nourishment which he took if is fortitude was such, that no human respects, or other considerations, could ever turn him out of the way of justice and truth; and his charity for his neighbor seemed confined by no bounds: his words, his writings, his whole life breathed forth this heavenly fire. He seemed to live, says his faithful disciple and historian, not for himself, but for others; or rather so much the more for himself by how much the more profitable his life was to his neighbors, and faithful to his God. The divine love and law were the continual subjects of his meditations day and night. He had a singular devotion to the passion of our Lord, and to his Virgin mother. Her image at Bec, before which, at her altar, he daily made long prayers while he lived in that monastery, is religiously kept in the new sumptuous church. His horror of the least sin is not to be expressed. In his Proslogium, meditations, and other ascetic works, the most heroic and inflamed sentiments of all these virtues, especially of compunction, fear of the divine judgments, and charity, are expressed in that language of the heart which is peculiar to the saints.
|John 13: 1 - 15|
|1||Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.|
|2||And during supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him,|
|3||Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God,|
|4||rose from supper, laid aside his garments, and girded himself with a towel.|
|5||Then he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded.|
|6||He came to Simon Peter; and Peter said to him, "Lord, do you wash my feet?"|
|7||Jesus answered him, "What I am doing you do not know now, but afterward you will understand."|
|8||Peter said to him, "You shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part in me."|
|9||Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!"|
|10||Jesus said to him, "He who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but he is clean all over; and you are clean, but not every one of you."|
|11||For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, "You are not all clean."|
|12||When he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, and resumed his place, he said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you?|
|13||You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.|
|14||If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.|
|15||For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.|