Gilbert of Sempringham

4 February -- Commemoration
If celebrated as a Lesser Festival, Common of Religious, page 494

Born in 1083 in Sempringham, the son of the squire, Gilbert became the parish priest in 1131. He encouraged the vocation of seven women of the town and formed them into a company of lay sisters. A group of lay brothers also came into being and they all kept the Benedictine Rule. Gilbert was unsuccessful in his bid to obtain pastoral guidance from Cîteaux for the incipient communities and they came under the ambit of Augustinian canons, Gilbert himself becoming the Master. At Gilbert's death in 1189, aged 106, there were nine double monasteries in England and four of male canons only. It was the only purely English monastic foundation before the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the sixteenth century.