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St Benedict (July 11)

St. Benedict, brother of St. Scholastica, was born in Nursia, Italy in the year 480. His family was wealthy, and he was educated in Rome at a time when barbarian invasions and moral decline seriously threatened to destroy the city and the Roman Empire. Disgusted with the moral decline of his companions and society in general, Benedict left Rome and lived in the village of Enfide for a number of years. Benedict was a mere teenager when he left the sinful world in 497 to live life fasting and praying in the inaccessible desert mountains of Subiaco. He was therefore quite surprised one day to see a priest bearing food appear in the remote region. He came under the tutelage of the monk, Romanus. Benedict became a monk and spent the next three years living a life of prayer and solitude in a cave. He began to attract many followers, and by the year 525 he had founded twelve monasteries in Subiaco. In 529, after this was accomplished, Benedict left for Monte Cassino. Again, many disciples were drawn to him. In 530, he founded the great monastery at Monte Casino which would become the focal point for Western monasticism. Benedict became the abbot of Monte Cassino and organized his companions into one monastic community. The Benedictine Rule inspired monastic life in the Western Church for centuries to come. Monasticism and its monasteries were instrumental in preserving Western civilization in modern Europe and the West. A wise spiritual leader and worker of miracles, Benedict's life and works profoundly affected the spirituality and life of the Church and Western civilization. He died at Monte Cassino on March 21, 1547.

We can see Benedict's influence on monasticism at the nearby St. Vincent Monastery, Latrobe, PA.