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Saint of the Day: St. Benedict

Father of Western Monasticism

Public Domain

Abbot (480-ca. 550)

His life

+ Benedict and his twin sister, Scholastica, were born in Nursia (Norcia), Italy. As a young man, Benedict rejected the excess and immorality he saw while studying in Rome.

+ He lived as a hermit in a cave at Subiaco but soon attracted other men seeking to join him in his way of life. He eventually gathered these men into twelve monasteries, the most important of which was Monte Cassino.

+ It was a Monte Cassino that Benedict wrote (or at least finalized) his “Rule for Monks,” a vision of monastic life and spirituality that drew on the writings of Saint Basil the Great, Saint John Cassian, the Desert Fathers, and the older “Rule of the Master.”

+ Saint Benedict died around the year 550 and was buried in the same grave as his sister, who had died shortly before her brother.

+ During the reign of the Emperor Charlemagne, the Rule of Benedict became the standard rule for monasteries in Western Europe.

+ What we know of Saint Benedict’s life comes from the second Book of the Dialogues of Pope Saint Gregory the Great. Although he never became a priest, Benedict was a highly regarded spiritual leader and this account his life is filled with wonderful stories and miracles that show Benedict’s holiness and the great respect that Gregory and other Church leaders had for him.

+ Saint Benedict is honored as one of the patron saints of Europe

For prayer and reflection

Benedict describes the Rule he wrote as ‘minimal, just an initial outline’ (cf. 73, 8); in fact, however, he offers useful guidelines not only for monks but for all who seek guidance on their journey toward God. For its moderation, humanity and sober discernment between the essential and the secondary in spiritual life, his Rule has retained its illuminating power even to today… The great monk is still a true master at whose school we can learn to become proficient in true humanism.”—Pope Benedict XVI

Spiritual bonus

On July 11 we also remember Blessed Valeriu Traian Frentiu, a bishop of the Romanian Greek-Catholic Rite. Martyred on July 11, 1952 during the Communist persecutions of the Catholic Church in Romania, he was beatified in 2019.

Vocations

To see a list of the communities of Benedictine monks and nuns and sisters in the United States, visit: https://www.osb.org/becoming-a-monk-or-nun/

Prayer

O God, who made the Abbot Saint Benedict
an outstanding master in the school of divine service,
grant, we pray,
that, putting nothing before love of you,
we may hasten with a loving heart
in the way of your commands.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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