Benedict of Nursia (480 - 547)


Saint Benedict

Benedict of Nursia (480 - 547) was a saint from Italy, and a rule-giver for cenobitic monks. His purpose may be gleaned from his Rule, namely that "Christ … may bring us all together to life eternal."
Benedict founded twelve communities for monks, the best known of which is at Monte Cassino in the mountains of southern Italy. There is no evidence that he intended to found a religious order. The Order of St Benedict is of modern origin and, moreover, not an "order" as commonly understood but merely a confederation of autonomous congregations, most of which are made up of autonomous monasteries.

Benedict's main achievement is his "Rule", containing precepts for his monks. It is heavily influenced by the writings of John Cassian, and shows strong affinity with the Rule of the Master. But it also has a unique spirit of balance, moderation and reasonableness, and this persuaded most religious communities founded throughout the Middle Ages to adopt it. As a result, the Rule of Benedict became one of the most influential religious rules in Western Christendom. For this reason Benedict is often called the founder of western Christian monasticism.

St Benedict began monastic life as a hermit, and was fed by a local priest who let down food in a basket. This is the cave.

This is the church of the cave. St Francis of Assisi attended its consecration as a young man. He must have impressed the monks because he is portrayed in a picture account of the ceremony on the wall of the church, as well as a large painting of him among the saints - painted while he was still a young man!!

St Francis of Assisi, painted from life

Monastery in Subiaco


another look at the church

after monks tried to poison St Benedict, he left Subiaco and went to Montecasino where he wrote his Rule and eventually died.

The Monastery After Bombings.  / Photo-Welt

St. Benedict & St. Scholastica

"We are about to open a school for God's service,

in which we hope nothing harsh or oppressive will be directed."

Few saints have left such a palpable impact on the world as St. Benedict, the monk whose Rule set a standard for the Western monastic tradition. And yet the sources for his biography are limited. Virtually all that is known is contained in a the brief account of his life written by Pope Gregory the Great almost fifty years after his death.


St. Benedict Cross is considered the symbol of the fight against the Evil.
Certainly the most important element of cult is the Cross of St. Benedict,
especially in its medal's shape.
On one side it introduces,
the image of the Saint Patriarch and on the other side there is a cross,
around which are disposed the Latin initials,
and recite the following prayer:
Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti
Cross of the Saint Father Benedict
Crux Sacra Sit Mihi Lux
Saint Cross be my light
Non Draco Sit Mihi Dux
My leader is not my Demon
Vade Retro Satana
Stand bach, Satan
Numquam Suade Mibi Vana
Don't let myself be tempted by the vanity
Sunt Mala Quae Libas
Evil is your drink
Ipse Venena Bibas
Drink yourself the poison
The initials which are distribuited in the Cross, enclose an invocation to the Saint Cross
in order to be a guide and support against the temptations of Satan,
to whom it is ordered to go away, with the words of Jesus when he was tempted too.
See the end of the article for further explanation.

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