Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”


Today is the feast of Blessed Alfredo Ildefonso Cardinal Schuster, OSB, Bailiff Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta.


He was born in Rome of Bavarian parents on 18 January 1880 and was baptized Alfredo Ludovico Luigi. He entered the Benedictine monastery of St Paul-Outside-the-Walls when he was 11, and in 1896 began his novitiate, taking the name of Ildefonso. He made his solemn profession in 1902. After studying philosophy at Sant' Anselmo (Rome)  and theology at St Paul's Abbey, he was ordained a priest in 1904. 

He was appointed Archbishop of Milan by Pope Pius XI on 26 June 1929 and created a Cardinal on 15 July. In 1933 he was invested Bailiff in our Order. A few days before he died, he withdrew to Venegono seminary. 

His last, moving words were to the seminarians: “You want something to remember me by. All I can leave you is an invitation to holiness...”. He died a few days later on 30 August 1954. His cause for canonization was introduced in 1957 by his successor, Archbishop Giovanni Battista Montini, the future Pope Paul VI. When his tomb was opened on 28 January 1985, his body was found to be intact. He was beatified on 12 May 1996.  

The Collect
Almighty God, through your grace,
Blessed Alfredo Ildefonso,
by his exemplary virtue built up the flock entrusted to him.
Grant that we, under the guidance of the Gospel,
may follow his teaching and walk in sureness of life,
until we come to see you face to face in your eternal kingdom.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.