Spotlight: St Benedict

– Feast Day July 11th 

Benedict of Nursia or St Benedict is a hugely impactful saint, who still today have a huge influence on the faith. St Benedict was born in 480 AD to a wealthy family, at the age of 20 St Benedict accompanied by his nurse, was sent to Rome to continue his studies. Benedict found Rome to be full of temptation and unpleasant, so soon quit his studies and with his nurse headed for the mountains, giving up all of his worldly possessions and his inheritance.

He traveled to the church of St Peter in the hills of Rome and met with the churches priests explaining to them that he could not live in a city gripped by such depravity, understanding this the priests welcomed St Benedict to stay. Whilst there he performed his first miracle and gained attention from locals, which forced him to move once again to live in the mountains Subiaco, Italy in complete solitude and he decided to commit his life to prayer.

Whilst in solitude Benedict was hit by many temptations. Including thoughts of a woman to resist this temptation, he rolled himself into a pile of thorns rolling in them over and over finally cleansing his body and soul of all temptation.

Hearing of his fierce commitment to faith, one day many years into his solitude monks came to visit St Benedict, to ask for him to become their new Abbot, but he warned them he would be too strict but they assured him that they would follow his lead. Unfortunately, he was right and his rules were too restrictive for the monks and they tried to poison him. Before he drank the poison the glass he was drinking from shattered in his hands and he left the monastery and went back to his life of solitude. Over, the coming years he started 12 monasteries (the first being in Monte Cassino, pictured below) and constructed many schools for children in Italy. Eventually, St Benedict began Abbot of all these monasteries.

Towards the end of his life, he sought to formalize his thoughts on monastic life. And wrote the famous ‘Rule of Saint Benedict’ which is still observed today by Benedictine monks and nuns around the world and within our own Diocese at Buckfast Abbey.

He was canonized in 1220 by Pope Honorius III and is the patron saint of Europe and Students. Interestingly St Benedict sister St Scholastica is also canonized as a saint and they are buried together. St Benedict is the namesake of two Churches within the Diocese, St Benedict’s in Gillingham and Buckfastleigh.

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