Lives of the Saints
Our Models and Protectors

Spiritual Bouquet:

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them and they follow Me."

St. John 10:27

June 7

Saint Robert of Newminster
Saint Robert of Newminster

Saint Robert
of Newminster
(† 1159)

In 1132 Robert was a monk at Whitby, England, when news arrived that thirteen religious had been violently expelled from the Abbey of Saint Mary in York, for having proposed to restore the strict Benedictine rule. He at once set out to join them, and found them on the banks of the Skeld near Ripon, living, in the midst of winter, in a hut made of woven branches and roofed with turf. In the spring they affiliated with Saint Bernard's reform at Clairvaux, and for two years struggled on in extreme poverty.

Eventually the fame of their sanctity brought another novice, Hugh, Dean of York, who endowed the community with all his wealth, and thus laid the foundation of Fountains Abbey. In 1137 Raynulph, Baron of Morpeth, was so edified by the example of the monks at Fountains that he built them a monastery in Northumberland, called Newminster, of which Saint Robert became Abbot. The holiness of his life and his instructions guided his brethren to perfection, and within the next ten years three new communities migrated from this one house, to become centers of holiness in other parts.

The abstinence of Saint Robert at table sufficed to maintain the mortified spirit of the community. One Easter Day his stomach, weakened by the fast of Lent, could take no food, but he finally consented to try to eat some bread sweetened with honey. Before it was brought, however, he felt this relaxation would be a dangerous example for his monks, and sent the food untouched to the poor at the gate. The plate was received by a young man of shining countenance, who straightway disappeared. What the Saint had sacrificed for his brethren had been accepted by Christ.

At the moment of Saint Robert's death in 1159, Saint Godric, a hermit of Finchale, saw his soul like a globe of fire, borne up by the Angels in a pathway of light, while the gates of heaven opened before them.

Reflection. Reason and authority prove that virtue ought to be practiced. But facts alone prove that it is practiced, and this is why our individual actions are of such grave importance for others as well as for ourselves.

Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler's Lives of the Saints, and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).

Alphabetical list of Saints