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History about Saint Benedict

 

     Saint Benedict was born in AD 480 in the mountain town of Nursia, north-east of Rome.  He came from a well-to-do family, who arranged for him to pursue his studies in Rome.  At that time, the Roman Empire was being torn apart by political turmoil and religious schism.  Saint Benedict decided to detach himself from this degeneracy and went to live in a village chapel to study the Scriptures.

     Several years later, Benedict left the village quietly to begin a new phase in his life.  In a cave in Subiaco, south-east of Rome, he spent three years in solitary retreat, spending his time in prayer and hard labour.  Knowledge of his virtue gradually spread.  He reluctantly accepted the office of abbot for a monastery after being entreated repetitiously.  He soon found some of the monks accustomed to the easy life, and he was disappointed much by the power struggle against him.  He decided to leave to establish his own monastery.

     He then built twelve monasteries around the south of Rome and put twelve followers in charge.  Finally, at the site of the destroyed pagan temple of Apollo on Monte Cassino, he built his man monastery.  As he had experienced the life of the stoic hermit following the Egyptian tradition as well as witnessed the laxity of some monasteries in his time, he decided to establish his own order and rules for his monks.  There he wrote his masterpiece, which has become a legacy for all ages, the ¡§Rule of Saint Benedict¡¨.

     The spirit of Saint Benedict is best reflected in his Rule.  Basically, he based his teachings on the Bible and provided us with the metaphor of a ¡§twelve-step ladder¡¨ as a guideline in formulating a way of attaining holiness within the capability of a common person.  Through prayer, reading and work, attaining a balance of spiritual, cerebral and physical exercise, the community as well as each individual may incessantly be renewed through the practice of the twelve steps of humility until one reaches total harmony with God and men.

     In AD 547, Saint Benedict finally rested in peace surrounded by his followers.  He was buried in Monte Cassino.

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