Tag Archives: St Benedict

Saint Benedict

Death of St BenedictSaint Benedict, [the Father of Western Monasticism (480-543)] blessed by grace as his prophetic name seemed to foretell, was born of a noble Italian family in Umbria, in the year 480. As a boy he showed great inclination for virtue, and maturity in his actions. He was sent to Rome at the age of seven, to be placed in the public schools. At the age of fourteen, alarmed by the licentiousness of the Roman youth, he fled to the desert mountains of Subiaco, forty miles from Rome, and was directed by the Holy Spirit into a deep, craggy, and almost inaccessible cave, since known as the Holy Grotto. He lived there for three years, unknown to anyone save a holy monk named Romanus, who clothed him with the monastic habit and brought him food.

He was eventually discovered, when, one Easter day, God advised a priest who lived about four miles from there, to take food to His servant, who was starving. The priest searched in the hills and finally found the solitary, and they took their meal together. Some shepherds also knew of his retreat, and soon the fame of this hermit’s sanctity began to spread. The demon persecuted him, but to no avail; when a temptation of the flesh assailed him, he rolled in a clump of thorns and nettles, and came out of it covered with blood but sound in spirit.

Disciples came to him, and under his direction, numerous monasteries were founded. The rigor of the rule he drew up, however, brought upon him the hatred of some of the monks, and one of them mixed poison with the Abbot’s drink. When the Saint made the sign of the cross on the poisoned bowl, it broke and fell in pieces to the ground.

Saint Benedict resurrected a boy whose father pleaded for that miracle, saying Give me back my son! He replied, Such miracles are not for us to work, but for the blessed apostles! Why will you lay upon me a burden which my weakness cannot bear? But finally, moved by compassion, he prostrated himself upon the body of the child, and prayed: Behold not, O Lord, my sins, but the faith of this man, and restore the soul which Thou hast taken away! And the child rose up, and walked to the waiting arms of his father. When a monk lost the iron head of his axe in a river, the Abbot told him to throw the handle in after it, and it rose from the river bed to resume its former place.

Six days before his death, Saint Benedict ordered his grave to be prepared, then fell ill of a fever. On the sixth day he asked to be carried to the chapel, and, having received the sacred Body and Blood of Christ, with hands uplifted and leaning on one of his disciples, he calmly expired in prayer, on the 21st of March, 543.

Reflection. The Saints never feared to undertake any work for God, however arduous, because distrusting self they relied for assistance and support wholly upon prayer.

Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894); Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 3

Saint Benedict

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Blessed feast of Saint Benedict!

The father of many saints, and the father those who are serious about their spiritual life, community, study, and work.

Let us pray through the intercession of Saint Benedict for the monks, nuns, sisters, oblates and members of Communion and Liberation.

Pacis Nuntius: St Benedict as “exemplar and type of absolute beauty”

Why is Saint Benedict so important for us today? Why spend so much energy trying to promote his cause and to recall his influence upon civilization? One answer is: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” You may want to read “Translating St Benedict” by Dom Hugh of Douai Abbey (UK) who does a fine job at locating a piece of our interest.

I also think it’s a good day to remember that Europe –and the USA– needs its heavenly patron to get it out of the moral, political and human confusion that is wreaking havoc today. I wonder what life in the USA would be like if we had a “new” Benedict? The Servant of God Pope Paul VI wrote Pacis Nuntius (1964), an Apostolic Letter by which he names Saint Benedict as the principle patron of all of Europe. In this document we read in an abbreviated form why Abbot and Saint Benedict was important not only to the Pope, but to a continent.

In everlasting memory

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Messenger of peace, molder of union, magister of civilization, and above all herald of the religion of Christ and founder of monastic life in the West: these are the proper titles of exaltation given to St. Benedict, Abbot. At the fall of the crumbling Roman Empire, while some regions of Europe seemed to have fallen into darkness and others remained as yet devoid of civilization and spiritual values, he it was who, by constant and assiduous effort, brought to birth the dawn of a new era. It was principally he and his sons, who with the cross, the book and the plow, carried Christian progress to scattered peoples from the Mediterranean to Scandinavia, from Ireland to the plains of Poland (Cf. AAS 39 (1947), p. 453). With the cross; that is, with the law of Christ, he lent consistency and growth to the ordering of public and private life. To this end, it should be remembered that he taught humanity the primacy of divine worship through the “opus Dei”, i.e. through liturgical and ritual prayer. Thus it was that he cemented that spiritual unity in Europe, whereby peoples divided on the level of language, ethnicity and culture felt they constituted the one people of God; a unity that, thanks to the constant efforts of those monks who followed so illustrious a teacher, became the distinctive hallmark of the Middle Ages.

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Saint Benedict, the man of blessing

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Today is the Feast of Saint Benedict! It was originally the feast of the translation of his relics, but after Monte Cassino was bombed they discovered that his relics were evidently never translated! Pope Paul changed it to the feast of Saint Benedict Patron of Europe. One of the most sensible things he ever did.


The perduring gift to the Church is the Rule of Saint Benedict. It is a beautiful compilation of how to live together seeking the face of God. One part on humility is worth noting. Benedict’s teaching on humility is here.

Father Giussani points out about life in Communion and Liberation:


“Now, we must also say that to live communion is not a small matter; it is all of Christian life, because Christian life is Christ among us who makes us one sole body. And this, I believe, is the heart of the original Benedictine tradition, with which our Movement felt itself to coincide from the beginning. The heart of our Movement is this, and I really believe that it is being disciples of the original Benedictine history that has made our Movement like this. Therefore, it is no small matter; it is the example that has to happen.”


A short review of the importance of Saint Benedict and Benedictines in the life of Communion and Liberation is here.

Blessed feast of Saint Benedict.

Benedicite

Communion and Liberation’s prayer on St Benedict’s feast

passing of Benedict.jpgThis day blessed Benedict in the presence of his brethren ascended directly from his cell toward the East into heaven; this day, his hands raised, he breathed forth his soul in prayer; this day he was received by the Angels into glory. (Vespers Mag. Ant.)

Our prayer today is for all who follow the Rule of Saint Benedict and the gifts given to the Church and world by the Benedictines. Most especially our prayer today is with the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation who counts Saint Benedict as one of the co-patrons of the movement. May we who live the path given by the Servant of God Father Luigi Giussani to “incline our heart” unto the Lord’s.
Father Giussani once said to the Benedictine monks of Cascinazza (Milan), “Christ is present! The Christ announcement is that God became one of us and is present here, and gathers us together into one body, and through unity, His presence is made perceivable. This is heart of the Benedictine message of the earliest times. Well, this also defines the entire message of our Movement, and this is why feel Benedictine history to be the history to which we are the closest.”

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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