Saint Benedict of Nursia, a figure known famously for being a hermit and for his monastic life, was an extremely influential man during the fifth and sixth centuries A.D. While many people recognize him as the founder of the Benedictine order, in fact Saint Benedict had a profound and lasting impact on the Catholic Church as a whole and not just on one small group of religious. A man of tremendous character, Saint Benedict lived an eventful life:
- Saint Benedict wrote The Rule of Saint Benedict, a set of precepts governing monastic life. As the Rule dictates a moderate path between individual ardor in faith and communal institutionalization, it has gained much popularity over the centuries.
- Saint Benedict originally studied rhetoric in Rome, but found the lifestyle of the city too degenerate for his tastes. He left, not originally intending to become a hermit, though after a time settled with Romanus, another hermit, in a cave outside of Enfide; he lived thusly for three years.
- Saint Benedict did not intend to found an order, so to speak, with his monastic precepts. It wasn’t until the later Middle Ages that the term “Order of Saint Benedict” came into existence.
- Together with Saints Cyril and Methodius, Saint Benedict is one of the co-patron saints of Europe.
- During his time as a hermit, a group of pious men came to Saint Benedict and begged him to be their abbot; when they proved unwilling to live up to his holy standard, they tried to give him poisoned wine. While he was praying over the cup, it shattered and spilled the deadly drink onto the ground.
- The Medal of St. Benedict is one of the most popular devotionals. It has complex symbolism so we created an interactive page to show you all the parts!