Saints of the Day – Silvester Gozzolini, Abbot

detail of a photograph of a statue of Saint Sylvester Gozzolini, Saint Sylvester's College, Kandy, Sri Lanka; sculptor unknown; photographed on 3 March 2013 by Rmeyen; swiped off WikipediaArticle

Born at Osimo, Italy, 1177; died at Monte Fano, 1267; equivalently canonized in 1598 by Pope Clement VIII.

Born of a noble family, Saint Silvester studied law at Bologna and Padua, but, against his father’s wishes, switched to the study of theology and Scripture. He was ordained and became a canon in the cathedral of his home town of Osima until he was 50. Then he respectfully, but firmly, rebuked his bishop for the dissolute life he was leading. Silvester resigned his benefice in 1227, and became a hermit 30 miles from Osimo. Here he lived in poverty and discomfort until the landowner gave him a better hermitage. This one proved to be too damp, so he moved to Grotta Fucile, where he lived an extremely penitential life until 1231.

Directed by a vision of Saint Benedict, he organized the disciples he had attracted into a monastery at Monte Fano near Fabriano in the Marches of Ancona, thus founding the Silvestrine Benedictines, known as the Blue Benedictines from the color of their habit. He taught a very strict interpretation of the Benedictine rule. The congregation was approved by Pope Innocent IV in 1247, and Silvester ruled it with “unbounded wisdom and gentleness” for 36 years until his death, by which time 11 monasteries were under his rule. The Silvestrines still exist as a small, independent Benedictine congregation (Attwater, Attwater 2, Benedictines, Coulson, Delaney, Walsh).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 19 August 2020. Web. 29 November 2020. <>