Saints of the Order of Saint Benedict – Saint Constable, Abbot

illustration of Saint Constable, Abbot, from the book 'Saints of the Order of Saint Benedict', designed by Father Amandus LiebhaberLucania, in southern Italy, was the native land of Saint Constable, and in the Monastery of Cava in that province he was enrolled among the Benedictine ranks. He was trained up in the practice of piety by Leo and Peter, both Religious of the holiest type. The young monk was conspicuous among all his companions for humility, fasting – he often went two or three days at a stretch without food – and simplicity of heart. All his exertions were devoted to the exact performance of the duties enjoined by Saint Benedict’s Rule; and so, when the Abbot Peter died, Constable was chosen to rule the monastery. The author of his Life writes that Saint Constable was a man of the sweetest disposition, without any trace of anger or passion, even when he had to inflict punishment. It was by kindness that he used to win over the erring to better ways; so considerate was he, that, in the presence of others, he would make excuses for the guilty. For one short year only did he rule the Community of Cava, and then he was granted his reward among the blessed, A.D. 1121.

Though carried off by too early a death, the Saint never ceased to watch over his brethren at Cava, just as if he were still among them. On one occasion the monks of this house had to cross the sea to Africa. For some time the winds were favourable; but, while coasting along Sicily, they were overtaken by a terrible storm. The waves ran mountains high, the ship was full of water, the efforts of the sailors were all in vain, and they were expecting instant death, when Saint Constable, appearing from Heaven, bade the captain be of good cheer, assured him that the fury of the gale would soon abate, and that they would reach Africa in safety. Everything turned out as the Saint foretold. Again, on the return voyage, the monks were pursued by pirates, numbers of whom then infested the Sicilian Sea. The pirates were scarcely a bowshot off their prey, when they suddenly turned and made all sail in the opposite direction. What was the cause of this sudden panic? Some of the pirates afterwards related that, when they got close to the monks’ vessel, it seemed to them to be a huge war-galley, crowded with fighting men and with arms of every description; and so terrified were they at this unexpected sight, that they immediately took to flight. Thus did Saint Constable again intervene for the safety of his brethren.

At our Saint’s tomb devils were cast out; persons tortured by pleurisy were enabled to breathe once more with ease; sight was restored to the blind; the fever-stricken were completely rid of the burning heat by which they were consumed, in short, it would take pages to enumerate all the miracles performed over the relics of Saint Constable.

– text and illustration taken from Saints of the Order of Saint Benedict by Father Aegedius Ranbeck, O.S.B.