Anselm was born in northern Italy in 1033. From his home he could see the Alps mountains. When he was fifteen, Anselm tried to join a monastery in Italy. But his father was against it. Then Anselm became sick. Not long after he got better, his mother died. He was still young and rich and clever. Soon he forgot about wanting to serve God. He began to think only of having good times.
After a while though, Anselm became bored with this way of life. He wanted something better, something more important. He went to France to visit the holy Abbot Lanfranc of the famous monastery of Bec. Anselm became Lanfranc's very close friend and the abbot brought him to God. He also helped Anselm decide to become a Benedic-tine monk. Anselm was then twenty-seven.
Anselm was a warm-hearted man who loved his brother monks dearly. Even those who first resented him soon became his friends. He became the abbot in 1078. When he had to leave Bec to become archbishop of Canterbury in England, he told the monks that they would always live in his heart.
The people of England loved and respected Anselm. However, King William II persecuted him. Anselm had to flee into exile in 1097 and in 1103. King William even forbade Anselm to go to Rome to ask the pope's advice. But Anselm went anyway. He stayed with the pope until the king died. Then he went back to his diocese in England.
Even in the midst of his many duties, St. Anselm always found time to write important books of philosophy and theology. He also wrote down the many wonderful instructions he had given the monks about God. They were very happy about that. He used to say: "Would you like to know the secret of being happy in the monastery? Forget the world and be happy to forget it. The monastery is a real heaven on earth for those who live only for Jesus." St. Anselm died on April 21, 1109. He was declared a great teacher or Doctor of the Church by Pope Clement XI in 1720.
"You were looking for God, and you have discovered that he is the Supreme Being, and that you could not possibly imagine anything more perfect. You have discovered that this Supreme Being is life itself, light, wisdom, goodness, eternal blessedness, and blessed eternity."-St. Anselm