Gilbert was born at Sempringham, England, son of Jocelin, a wealthy Norman knight. He was sent to France to study and returned to England to receive the benefices of Sempringham and Tirington from his father. He became a clerk in the household of Bishop Robert Bloet of Lincoln and was ordained by Robert's successor, Alexander. He returned to Sempringham as Lord on the death of his father in 1131. In the same year he began acting as adviser for a group of seven young women living in enclosure with lay sisters and brothers and decided the community should be incorporated into an established religious order. After several new foundations were established, Gilbert went to Citeaux in 1148 to ask the Cistercians to take over the Community. When the Cistercians declined to take on the governing of a group of women, Gilbert, with the approval of Pope Eugene III, continued the Community with the addition of Canons Regular for its spiritual directors and Gilbert as Master General. The Community became known as the Gilbertine Order, the only English religious order originating in the medieval period; it eventually had twenty-six monasteries which continued in existence until King Henry VIII suppressed monasteries in England. Gilbert imposed a strict rule on his Order and became noted for his own austerities and concern for the poor. He was imprisoned in 1165 on a false charge of aiding Thomas of Canterbury during the latter's exile but was exonerated of the charge. He was faced with a revolt of some of his lay brothers when he was ninety, but was sustained by Pope Alexander III. Gilbert resigned his office late in life because of blindness and died at Sempringham. He was canonized in 1202. His feast day is February 4.
Nothing is known of St. James the Greater's early life, though it has been established that he is the son of Zebedee and Salome and brother of John the disciple. The title "the Greater" was added to ... continue readingMore Saint of the Day
Saint Rita was born Margherita Lotti in Roccaporena, Italy in 1381. The day after her baptism, Rita was surrounded by a swarm of white bees, which went in and out of her infant mouth without hurting her. Rather than being alarmed, her family believed she was marked to ... continue readingMore Female Saints
Saint Michael the Archangel isn't a saint, but rather he is an angel, and the leader of all angels and of the army of God. This is what the title "Archangel" means, that he is above all the others in rank. St. Michael has four main responsibilities or offices, as we ... continue reading
St. Catherine was born in Florence in 1522. Her baptismal name was Alexandrina, but she took the name of Catherine upon entering religion. From her earliest infancy she manifested a great love of prayer, and in her sixth year, her father placed her in the convent of ... continue reading
Alvarez was born in either Lisbon, Portugal, or Cordova, Spain. He entered the Dominican convent at Cordova in 1368. He became known for his preaching prowess in Spain and Italy, was confessor and adviser of Queen Catherine, John of Gaunt's daughter, and tutor of King ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith Fournier
This great defender of the faith insisted on the central claim of Christianity: God can be known and loved-indeed, that is why He came into our midst in the person of His Son; so that through a relationship with Jesus Christ, man could participate in the very ... continue readingMore Christian Saints & Heroes