Who was St. Anselm?
St. Anselm was born in 1033 in the northwest Italian town of Aosta. He left Italy and sailed to Normandy, France, where he was educated at a Benedictine monastery. He became an abbot and then a prominent theological philosopher who is best known for his teaching on the relation between faith and reason.
During a visit to England, he learned he had been chosen to become the 36th Archbishop of Canterbury. He accepted the position reluctantly, because he foresaw conflicts rising between church and state.
He was in office from 1093 to 1109 and died at the age of 78 — a very long life in those days — and his symbol, the ship, reflects his many sea voyages between Britain and Rome. The nautical motif is seen frequently at St. Anselm’s Church: the emblem on our sign on Michael Lane, the ship’s bell in the bell tower, and our baptismal font (a deep-sea giant clamshell).