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St Benedict

Saint Benedict was of good birth, and after growing up in the Sabine town of Norcia, was sent to Rome with a nurse for a liberal education. There he was so repulsed by the licentiousness of the Romans that he retreated, with his nurse, to the village of Enfide 30 miles outside Rome.

There Benedict set upon the need to abandon the world for solitude. St. Anthony left his nurse there, and alone made his way further into the mountains to Subiaco where he came upon the reclusive monk, Romanus. He opened his heart to the monk about his wish to found a community in solitude. Then Benedict retired to a cave, where he lived upon bread supplied by Romanus for three years.

Many came to and gathered around the Saint, attracted by his powers and his sanctity. After a time, he organized twelve wood built monasteries of 12 monks each, with a prior. Those around him were specially trained, and he at some point left suddenly, leaving these men over the cells.

Benedict then went to Monte Cassino. This land of the Campagnia that was once fertile had grown swampy due to neglect brought on by invading Barbarians. He erected two chapels upon a pagan temple and from this, at that time, the largest monastery in the world grew up under the direction of the Saint. Though he at first lived as a hermit, postulants soon came to Monte Cassino, which necessitated organization.

Benedict gathered the monks under one roof, all-the-while curing the sick, aiding the distressed, and even raising more than one person from the dead. He also made provisions for guests, which came to the saint from Capua and Rome, for advice and guidance that came from his holiness, sanctity, and miracles. Saint Benedict composed his Rule at this time, which forms the basis of western monasticism.

Benedict instructed his monks to prepare his grave six days before his death, and after receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord, died on his feet in the original chapel at Monte Cassino. The death of Saint Benedict came in AD 547.

The Feast of Saint Benedict is March 21st.

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