St. Benedict of Nursia (+March 21, 543)
Commemorated March 14
St. Benedict was born on March 2, 480 in Umbria, Italy. He was the son of a Roman noble of Nursia.
St. Benedict founded 12 monasteries near Rome, and in 530, he founded the great Benedictine monastery of Monte Cassino, on a hilltop between Rome and Naples.
St. Benedict's main achievement is his "Rule of Saint Benedict", which contains precepts for his monks. The Rule (based on balance, moderation, and reasonableness ) became one of the most influential religious rules in Western Christendom. St. Benedict is often called the "Founder of Western Christian Monasticism." Following the golden rule of pray and work, each day the monks devoted 8 hours to prayer, 8 hours to sleep, and 8 hours to manual work, sacred reading, or works of charity.
As a young man, St. Benedict was sent to Rome to study, but he became dissatisfied with the life he found there and wanted to find some place away from the great city. On his way to the mountains, he met Romanus of Subiaco, a monk whose monastery was in the mountains. Shortly thereafter, St. Benedict became a monk and lived as a hermit for three years in a cave. His years of solitude was broken only by occasional communications with Romanus. St. Benedict matured in spirit, mind, and character. and was widely respected. Tradition relates miracles were frequent, and many people attracted by his sanctity and character, came to be under his guidance.
St. Benedict reposed in the Lord of a fever at Monte Cassino in March 543.
From his scroll: "He who labors as he prays, lifts his heart to God with his hands."