Gilbert of Sempringham

This very particular Englishman, the only to have been the founder of a general monastic Order called the Gilbertine, which consisted of both (i) a conventual order of men (the Canons regular of S. Augustine), continuing the tradition of colleges of priests who lived a regular life in common to various degrees, but without being entirely separated from the world, as was the custom of the monks; and (ii) a monastery for Benedictine nuns. This he accomplished first in Lincolnshire, which makes him very much a Saint of the Diocese of Nottingham. But the Gilbertines flourished throughout England; they were ended by the dissolution of the Orders and monasteries by King Henry in the sixteenth century. Gilbert’s work as founder was done under the Holy Father Eugenius III (AD 1080-1153), and Gilbert died in AD 1190. Here is his entry in the Roman Martyrology:

“At Sempringham in England, Saint Gilbert the priest who, being approved by Pope Eugenius III, founded a monastic Order, upon which he imposed two disciplines, that is the Rule of Saint Benedict upon the monastics and the Rule of Saint Augustine upon the clerics.”

Roman martyrology, February the 4th

The Google map above locates Sempringham for us, not very far from Grantham, Sleaford and Bourne. Of these, Bourne has a Catholic church dedicated to Saint Gilbert. There aren’t many good images of Saint Gilbert, but there are likely images of his Canons (see below). However, we do have Canons regular of S. Augustine at Chelmsford today, and they wouldn’t be far different from Gilbert’s men.