Loading
Western monastic patron St. Benedict celebrated July 11
By Benjamin Mann
Saint Benedict of Nursia.
Saint Benedict of Nursia.

.- On July 11, the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of Saint Benedict of Nursia, the sixth-century abbot who gave Christian monasticism its lasting foundation in Western Europe.

For his historic role as the “Father of Western Monasticism,” St. Benedict was declared a co-patron of Europe (along with Saints Cyril and Methodius). St. Benedict is also the patron saint of Pope Benedict XVI's pontificate.

In a 2005 general audience, the Pope said St. Benedict was a “powerful reminder of the indispensable Christian roots” of Europe. He cited the monk's instruction to “prefer nothing to the love of Christ,” and asked his intercession “to help us keep Christ firmly at the heart of our lives.”

Born to upper-class parents in modern-day Italy during the year 480, Benedict was sent to Rome to study the humanities. However, he soon became disgusted with the loose morals that prevailed among the students. Withdrawing from the city, he lived briefly with a group of monks, then as a hermit.

The young man spent three years in solitude, facing and overcoming severe temptations through prayer and asceticism. Only after doing so, did he have the confidence to emerge as an organizer of monastic communities. His first monasteries were established in the Anio valley outside Subiaco.

Benedict's monasteries in Subiaco became centers of education for children, a tradition which would continue in the order during his lifetime and beyond. His monastic movement, like its forebears in the Christian East, attracted large numbers of people who were looking to live their faith more deeply.

During 529, Benedict left Subiaco for Monte Cassino, 80 miles south of Rome. The move was geographically and spiritually significant, marking a more public emergence of the Western monastic movement. Benedict destroyed a pagan temple atop the mountain, and built two oratories in its place.

It was most likely at Monte Cassino that the abbot drew up a rule of life, the famous “Rule of St. Benedict,” which emphasized prayer, work, simplicity, and hospitality. Though known as a rule for monks, it is addressed to all those who seek “to do battle for Christ the Lord, the true King.”

Benedict's life was marked by various intrigues and miraculous incidents, which are described in his biography written by Pope St. Gregory the Great. One of the most remarkable was his meeting in 543 with Totila, King of the Goths, in which the abbot rebuked the king's lifestyle and prophesied his death.

St. Scholastica, Benedict's sister, also embraced religious life as a nun. She most likely died shortly before him, around the year 543. In his final years, the abbot himself had a profound mystical experience, which is said to have involved a supernatural vision of God and the whole of creation.

Around age 63, Benedict suffered his final illness. He was carried into the church by his fellow monks, where he received the Eucharist for the last time. Held up by his disciples, he raised his hands in prayer for the last time, before dying in their arms.

Although his influence was primarily felt in Western Europe, St. Benedict is also celebrated by the Eastern Catholic churches, and by Eastern Orthodox Christians, on March 14.

Tags: Saints


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon
Syrian Christian refugees
Jul
25

Liturgical Calendar

July 25, 2014

Saint James, Apostle

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 20:20-28

Gospel
Date
07/25/14
07/24/14
07/23/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: 2 Cor 4: 7-15
Gospel:: Mt 20: 20-28

Saint of the Day

St. James »

Saint
Date
07/25/14
07/23/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 20:20-28

Homily
Date
07/25/14
07/24/14
07/23/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: