Benedict Abbot

Also known as
Benedict of Narsia; Benedict of Norsia; Benedict of Nursia; Founder of Western Monasticism

Memorial
11 July; formerly 21 March

Profile
Roman nobility. Twin brother of Saint Scholastica. Studied in Rome, but was dismayed by the lack of discipline and the lackadasical attitude of his fellow students. Fled to the mountains near Subiaco, living as a hermit in a cave for three years; reported to have been fed by a raven. His virtues caused an abbey to request him to lead them. Founded the monastery atMonte Cassino, where he wrote the Rule of his order. His discipline was such that an attempt was made on his life; somemonks tried by poison him, but he blessed the cup and rendered it harmless. He returned to his cave, but continued to attract followers, and eventually established twelve monasteries. Had the ability to read consciences, prophesy, and forestall attacks of the devil. Destroyed pagan statues and altars, drove demons from groves sacred to pagans. At one point there were over 40,000 monasteries guided by the Benedictine Rule. A summation of the Rule: "Pray and work."

Born
c.480, Narsia, Umbria, Italy

Died
21 March 547 of a fever while in prayer at Monte Cassino, Italy; buried beneath the high altar there in the same tomb asSaint Scholastica

Name Meaning
blessed (= benedict)

Patronage
against nettle rash; against poison; against witchcraft; agricultural workers; cavers; civil engineers; coppersmiths; dying people; erysipelas; Europe;farm workers; farmers; fever; gall stones; Heerdt, Germany; inflammatory diseases; Italian architects; kidney disease; monks; nettle rash; Norcia, Italy;people in religious orders; poison; schoolchildren; servants who have broken their master's belongings; speliologists; spelunkers; temptations;witchcraft

Additional Information
Golden Legend, by Jacobus de Voragine
Google Directory
Bella Umbria
New Catholic Dictionary In God's Garden, by Amy Steedman
Rule of Saint Benedict
Catholic Encyclopedia Life of Our Most Holy Father Saint Benedict, by Pope Saint Gregory the Great

Prayers
Prayer I to...
Prayer II to...
Prayer for the Gifts to Seek God and Live in Him, by Saint Benedict

Representation
bell; broken cup; broken cup and serpent representing poison; broken utensil; bush; crosier; man in a Benedictine cowl holding Benedict's rule or a rod of discipline; raven

Images
Gallery of images of Saint Benedict [12 images, 174 kb]

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Readings
With jubilation of the voice, O chant ye of our Father Benedict: The mouth of the righteous shall meditate wisdom. For wisdom hath built up a throne for herself in the bosom of the righteous man. And his tongue shall speak of judgment, seeing the Logos-teaching Pneumatos bedeweth the hidden places of his heart; for the law of his God is in his heart.

Ps 36:33,34, trope "In jubilo" from the complete Old Sarum Rite Missal, Saint Hilarion Press, copyright 1998
Prayer ought to be short and pure, unless it be prolonged by the inspiration if Divine grace.

- Saint Benedict
Girded with a faith, and the performance of good works, let us follow in Christ's path by the guidance of the Gospel; then we shall deserve to see him "who has called us into his kingdom." If we wish to attain a dwelling place in his kingdom, we shall not reach it unless we hasten there by our good deeds.

Just as there exists an evil fervor, a bitter spirit, which divides us from God and leads us to hell, so there is a good fervor which sets us apart from evil inclinations and leads us toward God and eternal life. No one should follow what he considers to be good for himself, but rather what seems good for another. Let them put Christ before all else; and may he lead us all to everlasting life.

- from the Rule of Saint Benedict

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