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Other Names:
Anselm of Aosta, Anselm of Bec, Anselmo d’Aosta, Anselmo of Canterbury, Doctor of Scholasticism
Date of Birth:
Date of Death:
Feast Day:
April 21

Elected Abbot of Bec in 1078
As Archbishop of Canterbury, he fought against the King of England for Church rights

Early life

Anselm was born under the name "Anselmus Candiae Genavae" (Italian: Anselmo di Candia Ginevra, French: Anselme de Candie Genève) at[1] or near[2] Aosta in the Kingdom of Arles (currently the capital of the Aosta Valley region in Northern Italy) around 1033.[1] His family was noble (they were related by blood to the ascendant House of Savoy[3]) and owned considerable property. His parents were from a noble lineage and holders of fiefdoms within the Burgundian territories. His father, Gundulf de Candia, was by birth a Lombard of the House of Candia; he seems to have been harsh. His mother, Ermenberga of Geneva, was regarded as prudent and virtuous; she was related to Otto, Count of Savoy.

At the age of fifteen, Anselm desired to enter a monastery but could not obtain his father's consent, and so the abbot refused him.[1] Disappointment brought on apparent psychosomatic illness. After recovery, he gave up his studies and lived a carefree life. During this period, his mother died and his father's harshness became unbearable.

When he was twenty-three, Anselm left home, crossed the Alps and wandered through Burgundy and France.[2] Attracted by the fame of his countryman Lanfranc (then prior of the Benedictine Abbey of Bec), Anselm arrived in Normandy in 1059. The following year, after some time at Avranches, he entered the abbey as a novice at the age of twenty-seven; in doing so he submitted himself to the Rule of Saint Benedict, which was to reshape his thought over the next decade.[4]