Saint Anthelm

Saint Anthelm
Born: 1107, France
Died: 1178, France
Feast Day: 26th June
Also Known As: Anthelm de Chignin, Anthelme…., Anthelmus….

Saint Anthelm was born in the 12th Century to a noble and wealthy family.  He became a young priest but getting caught up in church politics he sought ecclesiastical position to increase his power and authority. He was more materialistic than a priest should have been. However, a visit to Carthusians at Portes changed his view of his vocation and he felt a calling to the monastic life. 

He entered the French Carthusian Order in 1137 and soon became known for his administrative skills, holiness, and wisdom.  Seven monks were killed at Grande Chartreuse in an avalanche, and Anthelm was sent there and quickly appointed Procurator.  He was later appointed to fill the vacancy in the office of Prior.  He was excellent at attending to the brothers but also seeing the greater need, for instance he organised the move of the main house, away from an area under threat from avalanches.  The monastery flourished and increased in numbers attracting many including his father and brother, and also increased in piety.

He remained in his post for 12 years despite requested release of his leadership role, preferring to be in his cell.  Eventually he was succeeded by Basil who ordered him to accept the same position at Portes where the brothers were short of food and were not managing their supplies.  Reluctantly he accepted the role. During this time, he supported Pope Alexander II, during the schism earning him the position of Bishop of Belley, again he reluctantly accepted.  Anthelm was not looking for leadership roles, preferring to serve God quietly.  However, until his death in 1178 at the age of 72, he reprimanded the clergy on fallen standards of celibacy and worked tirelessly on the reform of clergy, retreating when he could to a contemplative life in Chartreuse.  Miracles are attributed to Anthelm’s intercession.