Our patron, St Benedict, was also known as
Benedict of Nursia; Founder of Western Monasticism.
St Benedict was born c. 480, in Nursia,
Umbria, Italy of Roman nobility. His name means blessed'. He is the twin
brother of Saint Scholastica. He studied in Rome but was dismayed by the lack
of discipline and the lackadaisical attitude of his fellow students. He fled to
the mountains near Subiaco, living as a hermit in a cave for three years. His
virtues caused an abbey to request him to lead them. He founded the monastery
at Monte Cassino, where he wrote the Rule of his order. His discipline was such
that an attempt was made on his life; some monks tried to 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.
At one point there were over 40,000 monasteries guided by the Benedictine Rule.
A summation of the Rule: "Pray and work".
St Benedict died 21 March 547 of a fever
while in prayer at Monte Cassino, Italy and he was buried beneath the high
altar there in the same tomb as Saint Scholastica.