Saint of the Day – 18 March – Saint Anselm of Lucca the Younger (1036-1086) Bishop, Confessor – born in 1036 at Mantua, Italy and died on 18 March 1086 at Mantua, Italy of natural causes. Patronage – Mantua, the city of his birth and death, honours him as its patron.
Anselm was a medieval Bishop of Lucca in Italy and a prominent figure in the Investiture Controversy amid the fighting in central Italy between Matilda, countess of Tuscany and Emperor Henry IV. His uncle, Anselm preceded him as Bishop of Lucca before being elected to the papacy as Pope Alexander II, owing to this, he is sometimes distinguished as Anselm the Younger or Anselm II.
He was nephew of Anselm of Lucca, the Elder, who ascended the Papal throne as Alexander II in 1061.
In the year 1071 Alexander II designated Anselm as Bishop of Lucca and sent him to Germany to take investiture from Henry IV. Anselm went to Germany but was loath to receive the insignia of spiritual power from a temporal ruler and returned without investiture.
In 1073 Gregory VII, successor of Alexander II, also appointed Anselm Bishop of Lucca but advised him not to accept his ring and crosier from Henry IV. For some reason, Anselm accepted investiture from Henry but soon felt such remorse that he resigned his Bishopric and entered the Order of St Benedict at Padilirone, a monastery of the Cluniac Reform, situated near Mantua.
Gregory VII ordered him to return to his episcopal see at Lucca. Anselm returned reluctantly but continued to lead time life of a monk until his death.
St Anselm was Inspired, like Gregory VII, with a holy zeal to reform the clergy, he wished to impose stricter discipline upon the Canons of his Cathedral. Most of the Canons refused to submit to Anselm’s regulations and in 1081 he was expelled from Lucca with the help of the Emperor and his antipope, Guibert.
Anselm then retired to the castle of the Countess Matilda of Tuscany, whose spiritual adviser he was. Some time later he was made Papal Legate of Lombardy with instructions to rule over all the Dioceses which, during the conflict between pope and emperor, had been left without Bishops.
St Anselm was well versed in the Scriptures and wrote some exegetical and ascetical works. In his work “Contra Guibertum et sequaces ejus” he shows the unlawfulness of lay-investiture and defends Gregory against the Antipope Guibert. He also made a collection of canons which afterwards were incorporated into the well-known “Decretum” of Gratian.
Two biographies were written about the Bishop-saint shortly after his death on 18 March 1086, aged 50. He was Canonised by Pope Victor III in 1087. His relics reside in the cathedral of Mantua.