Saint Benedict of Nursia
St. Benedict of Nursia (480-547 A.D.) and his twin sister, St. Scholastica, were born to a Roman nobleman and his wife in Nursia, Italy. He spent his childhood with his parents in Rome. As a young man he found in himself a strong desire to escape the trifling things of the world and serve God. He left his family and wealth and settled in the mountainous region of Subiaco. After three years living in solitude as a cave-dwelling hermit, he was asked to lead a monastery in the place of an abbot who had died. Benedict did as they asked, but his way of life was too extreme for the monks and they tried to poison him. He thwarted their evil designs by blessing the poisoned cup, rendering it ineffective. Benedict returned to his cave, where news of his sanctity and miracles began to spread. Soon a community of men surrounded him wanting to adopt his way of life. To house them Benedict established twelve monasteries, including the world-famous Monte Cassino, and gave them a rule of life to live by, known as the Rule of St. Benedict. His Rule—still observed by Benedictines today—helped form the civilization and culture of Europe. Because of the organization, structure, and discipline he brought to the monastic life, he is known as the Founder of Western Monasticism. He is the patron saint of monks, students, farmers, all of Europe, and more. He is also especially known for his intercession against poison, temptations, and witchcraft. His feast day is July 11th in the Latin rite, while the Benedictines celebrate his feast on March 21st.
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