Sunday, February 27, 2011

This saint reformed the clergy by depriving lax priests of their income

February 28  -- St. Oswald, Archbishop of York (d. 992)

Born of a noble Saxon family, St. Oswald was raised by his uncle, St. Odo, Archbishop of Canterbury. 

At a young age , he was chosen to reform the Order of the Canons of Winchester who had fallen into a lax and worldly spirit.  Finding his attempts in vain and turning to prayer and reflection, St. Oswald realized that the true remedy for clerical corruption was to be found in the monastic life. 

Taking the habit and direction of the Benedictines, he, along with St. Dunstan, then Archbishop of Canterbury, began the monastic revival of the tenth century.  All disobedient secular clergy were deprived of their revenues and replaced by religious priests.  To their churches, he attached a chapel in honor of Our Lady, served by strict religious.

The faithful were invited to join the religious in the beautiful and marvelous ceremonies of the Church.  Finding their churches empty, the lax canons had to choose whether to embrace their vocations with zeal or to imperil their souls by abandoning their mission, calling down the mockery of the faithful. The holy stratagem worked! 

St. Oswald founded seven religious houses and revived the monastic life of Europe, thereby increasing the influence of the Catholic Church and saving many souls.

Let us follow the holy example of St. Oswald by praying to Our Lady asking her to give us the perspicacity to accomplish our mission with wisdom and ingenuity.

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