Thought for the Day – 30 August – the Memorial of Blessed Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster OSB (1880-1954)
Today is the anniversary of the death of the Blessed Cardinal Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster, who passed to his reward in heaven in 1954, after serving the church of Milan as her shepherd for just over 25 years and was Beatified in 1996.
Blessed Alfredo had several difficult years as the Shepherd of Milan with rise of Fascism and then advent of WWII. What is keenly recalled of Schuster as Bishop, is his solicitude for the people. He visited every parish of the diocese five times, holding several diocesan synods, writing many pastoral letters and founding a Seminary in Venegono. Monk or not, he was a true apostle for the good of the Church’s holiness and engagement in the world.
The funeral Mass was offered by the Cardinal Roncalli, now St John XXIII. In 1985, the cardinal’s tomb was opened and his mortal remains were found to be intact, the monk-bishop-cardinal-man of God was beatified by Saint John Paul II on 12 May 1996. The relics were given for the veneration of the faithful in one of the side-altars of the Duomo in Milan.
A treasure of Blessed Schuster is his scholarship in the Liber Sacramentorum, known in its English translation as The Sacramentary. It was written while he was Benedictine monk with the supreme reverence for tradition, adoration and intellect. In some ways, the volumes are dated, yet the work remains an invaluable reference point for liturgical scholarship today.
To the seminarians of Milan he taught in a characteristically Benedictine manner of the futility of ministry without personal holiness:
“I have no memento to give you, apart from an invitation to holiness. It would seem that people are no longer convinced by our preaching but faced with holiness, they still believe, they still fall to their knees and pray. People seem to live ignorant of supernatural realities, indifferent to the problems of salvation. But when an authentic saint, living or dead passes by, all run to be there. Do not forget that the devil is not afraid of our [parish] sports fields and of our movie halls – he is afraid, on the other hand, of our holiness.
Prayer on the occasion of the Beatification of Cardinal Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster
Father, origin and source of all good,
we praise You and thank You
because, in the Blessed Cardinal Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster
You have given us and made known
a gentle and tireless pastor,
witness to the peace that only You can give.
Lord Jesus, Son of God,
You have been for the Cardinal Schuster, a model of life,
for Your love, he was a passionate servant of all.
Lord of life, peace and joy, grant that
his example may inspire us
and his prayer accompany us,
as we also give our lives
to the service of every human being.
Spirit of love, that makes us saints,
grant us to remember
his constant invitation to holiness.
Make us capable, as he was,
to love the poor, the forgotten, the persecuted;
give us the strength to dialogue with everyone,
with the confidence, to discover in every heart,
the seed of God.
May we not forget, the devil is afraid of our active striving for holiness.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, amen.
Blessed Alfredo, Pray for our Seminarians and Priests, Pray for us All!
One Minute Reflection – 30 August – Friday of the Twenty-first week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Matthew 25:1–13 and the Memorial of Blessed Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster OSB (1880-1954)
“The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.” … Matthew 25:3-4
REFLECTION – “It is some great thing, some exceedingly great thing, that this oil signifies. Do you think it might be charity? If we try out this hypothesis, we hazard no precipitate judgement. I will tell you why charity seems to be signified by the oil. The apostle says, “I will show you a still more excellent way.” “If I speak with the tongue of mortals and of angels but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” This is charity. It is “that way above the rest,” which is with good reason signified by the oil. For oil swims above all liquids. Pour in water and pour in oil upon it, the oil will swim above. If you keep the usual order, it will be uppermost, if you change the order, it will be uppermost. “Charity never fails.” … St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor – Sermon 93
PRAYER – God our Saviour, through the grace of Baptism you made us children of light. Hear our prayer, that we may always walk in that light and work for truth, love and charity, as Your witnesses before men. Dispel from our hearts the darkness of sin and keep us ever watchful for the true light, Christ Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God forever. Blessed Alfredo Schuster, you lived a life of total charity ever watchful to the needs of your neighbour, please pray for us, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 30 August – Friday of the Twenty-first week in Ordinary Time, Year C
Send Us Your Sevenfold Grace By St Bonaventure (1217-1274) Doctor of the Church
Send upon us, O God,
the Spirit of sevenfold grace –
the spirit of wisdom,
enabling us to relish the fruit of the tree of life,
which is indeed Yourself;
the gift of understanding,
to enlighten our perceptions;
the gift of strength,
to withstand our adversary’s onslaught;
the gift of knowledge,
to distinguish good from evil
by the light of Your holy teaching;
the gift of piety,
to clothe ourselves with charity and mercy;
the gift of fear,
to withdraw from all ill-doing
and live quietly in awe of your eternal majesty.
These are the things for which we ask.
Grant them for the honour of Your Holy Name,
to which, with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
be all honour and glory,
and lordship forever and ever.
Saint of the Day – 30 August – Blessed Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster OSB (1880-1954) aged 74 Cardinal, Archbishop of Milan, Benedictine Monk and Abbot, Writer, Liturgical scholar – born Alfredo Ludovico Luigi Schuster on 18 January 1880 at Rome, Italy and died on 30 August 1954 at Venegono, Italy of natural causes. Patronage – Archdiocese of Milan. His body is incorupt.
Alfredo Ludovico Schuster was born on 18 January 1880 in Rome, Italy, the son of Giovanni (Johann) Schuster, a Bavarian tailor and double widower and Maria Anna Tutzer. Schuster’s sister, Giulia, entered the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul. Schuster also had three half-siblings from his father’s second marriage. As a young child, Schuster was briefly kidnapped. He served as an altar boy at the church of the German Cemetery, next to St. Peter’s Basilica.
Schuster completed his secondary-level studies at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in November 1891. On 13 November 1898, he joined the Order of St Benedict at the novitiate of the monastery community of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, when he took the name Ildefonso and later professed monastic vows on 13 November 1900. He graduated as a Doctor of Philosophy on 14 June 1903 and later received a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Atheneum of St Anselm in Rome.
He was ordained on 19 March 1904 at the patriarchal Lateran Basilica in Rome by Cardinal Pietro Respighi, its archpriest and Vicar general of Rome. He returned to the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in 1904 and became Master of novices in 1908, prior in 1916 and was elected abbot-ordinary of the abbey on 6 April 1918.
On 26 June 1029 he was elected Archbishop of Milan. On the following 13 July, he took the oath of loyalty to the Italian state in front of King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, the first Italian bishop to do so, as required by the Lateran Treaty.
He was created Cardinal priest by Pope Pius XI on 15 July 1929, receiving the titular church of Santi Silvestro e Martino ai Monti on 18 July 1929. He was consecrated on 21 July 1929 in the Sistine Chapel by Pope Pius personally. Cardinal Schuster served as a papal legate on several occasions. On 15 August 1932, he was appointed legate to the celebration of Our Lady of Caravaggio; on 21 March 1934, to the millennial anniversary of Einsiedeln Abbey in Switzerland; on 15 September 1937, to the inauguration of the new facade of the cathedral of Desio; and on 2 August 1951, to the National Eucharistic Conference in Assisi. Bl Alfredo participated in the papal conclave of 1939, which elected Pope Pius XII on the eve of World War II.
There were claims during the process for Schuster’s beatification that he was sympathetic to Italian Fascism. While there is evidence of some support for Italy’s military ambitions, there is also evidence that he denounced the anti-Christian element of Fascist philosophy. He reportedly refused to participate in ceremonies involving Mussolini and condemned racist legislation during the Fascist period.
Schuster was an enthusiastic supporter of the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935, comparing it to the Crusades and viewing it as a potential source of converts. On 28 October 1935, while celebrating Mass in the Cathedral of Milan, he asked God to protect the Italian troops as “they open the door of Ethiopia to the Catholic faith and Roman civilisation”and blessed the banners of the departing troops. In 1938, Bl Alfredo’s views changed sharply, after the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany and the introduction of German racial doctrines into Italy with the Italian Racial Laws. During World War II the Cardinal was attacked by the Fascist and Nazi press without suffering any loss of esteem among his people. In the postwar years, Cardinal Schuster frequently emphasised the danger of totalitarianism inspired either by Fascism or Communism.
Although the cardinal sought Mussolini out on 25 April 1945 and urged him to make his peace with God and his fellow man, Mussolini spurned the admonition and was assassinated within a week.
Bl Alredo died on 30 August 1954 in the Archiepiscopal Seminary Pio XI near Milan. Cardinal Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli (the future St Pope John XXIII) celebrated his funeral. He was buried on 2 September 1954 in the metropolitan cathedral of Milan, next to his two immediate predecessors. He was honoured with the Order of the Holy Sepulchre.
The diocesan process of his cause for sainthood was opened on 30 August 1957 by Archbishop Giovanni Battista Montini (the future St Pope Paul VI) and concluded on 31 October 1963. After his tomb was opened on 28 January 1985, his body was found to be intact. Schuster was declared Venerable on 26 March 1994 by St Pope John Paul II and Beatified on 12 May 1996, after acceptance of a miracle involving the curing of an eye disease.
As a Liturgical scholar. his mosst famous work Liber Sacramentorum, known in its English translation as The Sacramentary, was written while he was still a Benedictine monk of the Roman Rite and although dated in some respects, remains an invaluable reference point for liturgical scholarship. When he was appointed Archbishop of Milan by Pope Pius XI, (who was himself Milanese and had held that office for six months before his Papal election), he embraced the Ambrosian liturgy wholeheartedly, and as the ex-officio head of the Congregation for the Ambrosian Rite, strongly defended and promoted the authentic uses of that tradition. He also oversaw important new editions of the Ambrosian musical books, which are still used in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Form of the Rite to this day. He wrote:
“The Church’s Liturgy may…be considered as a sacred poem, in the framing of which both heaven and earth have taken part and by which our humanity, redeemed in the blood of the Lamb without spot, rises on the wings of the Spirit even unto the throne of God Himself. This is more than a mere aspiration, for the Sacred Liturgy not only shows forth and expresses the ineffable and the divine but also, by means of the sacraments and of its forms of prayer, develops and fulfils the supernatural in the souls of the faithful, to whom it communicates the grace of redemption. It may even be said, that the very source of holiness of the Church is fully contained in her Liturgy; for, without the holy sacraments, the Passion of our Lord, in the existing dispensation instituted by almighty God, we would have no efficacy in us, since there would be no channels capable of conveying its treasure to our souls.” Ildefonso Schuster, The Sacramentary, vol. I
Almighty God, through Your grace,
Blessed Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster,
by his exemplary virtue, built up the flock entrusted to him.
Grant that we, under the guidance of the Gospel,
may follow his teaching and walk in sureness of life,
until we come to see You face-to-face in Your eternal kingdom.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Your son, who lives and reigns with You
and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.
St Adauctus of Rome
St Agilus Bl Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster OSB (1880-1954)
St Arsenius the Hermit
St Boniface of Hadrumetum
St Bononius of Lucedio
Bl Bronislava of Poland
Bl Edward Shelley
Bl Ero di Armenteira
Bl Euphrasia of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (1877-1952)
Bl Eustáquio van Lieshout
St Fantinus of San Mercurius
St Felix of Rome
St Gaudentia of Rome
Bl Giovanni Giovenale Ancina St Jeanne Jugan LSP (Mary of the Cross) (1792 – 1879) Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2018/08/30/saint-of-the-day-30-august-st-mary-of-the-cross-1792-1879-jeanne-jugan/
Bl John Roche
St Margaret Ward
Bl María Rafols-Bruna
St Narcisa de Jesus Martillo Moran
St Pammachius (c 340 – 410)
St Pelagius the Hermit
St Peter of Trevi
Bl Riccardo of Lotaringia
Bl Richard Flower
Bl Richard Leigh
Bl Richard Martin
St Rumon of Tavistock
St Sylvanus the Hermit
St Thecla of Hadrumetum
St Theodosius of Oria
Bl Yusuf Nehme
Martyrs of Colonia Suffetulana – 60 saints: A group of 60 Christians martyred for destroying a statue of Hermes.
They were martyred in Colonia Suffetulana, Africa.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed José Ferrer Adell
• Blessed Manuel Medina Olmos
• Blessed Vicente Cabanes Badenas
Martyrs of Barranco del Chisme (Spanish Civil War) – 10 beati:
• Blessed Alberto José Larrazábal Michelena
• Blessed Antonio María Arriaga Anduiza
• Carles Canyes Santacana
• Blessed Caterina Margenat Roura
• Diego Ventaja Milán
• Blessed Eleuterio Angulo Ayala
• Blessed Josefa Monrabal Montaner
• Manuel Medina Olmos
• Blessed Maria Dolores Oller Angelats
• Blessed Nicasio Romo Rubio