The Statue of Sylvester Gozzolini at St. Sylvester's College Kandy Sri Lanka (Source)
Double (1955 Calendar): November 26
November 26th is the Feast of St. Sylvester, the saint who founded the Sylvestrine Order, a reform congregation of the Order of St. Benedict, in 1231. He is not to be confused with St. Sylvester the Supreme Pontiff.
Sylvester, of the noble Gozzolini family, was born in Italy in 1177. After making a distinguished record at the universities of Bologna and Padua, he was made a canon at Osimo, his native city.
His inclination toward the contemplative life was strengthened by the sight of the dead body of a once handsome relative. "I am what he was," said Sylvester to himself, "and I will also be what he is."
After the funeral services the words of our Lord kept ringing in his ears, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me" (Matt. 16:24). At the age of 50 he resigned his post and became a hermit. Many disciples came to him, and these he organized under the rule of St. Benedict. After his death the order became known as the Sylvestrines, especially noted for their spirit of poverty. Their founder died at the age of 90.
The members of his Order wear a Benedictine habit, Turkish blue in color. Today there remain seven Sylvestrine monasteries in Italy and several mission houses in Ceylon and in the United States.
Adapted from The Church's Year of Grace by Pius Parsch.
O Most merciful God, You gave the holy abbot Sylvester his vocation to be a hermit as he stood before an open grave, contemplating the vanity of this world; and then later made his hidden life brilliant with merit. May we imitate him in despising the pleasures of this life, so that we may enjoy Your presence for all eternity. Through our Lord . . .
Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal