St. Benedict was born around 480 alongside his twin St. Scholastica to a noble of Nursia. As a young man, he was sent off to Rome to finish his education. It was here that he studied Philosophy, though the Philosophy they were taught led his fellow students to pursue pleasure over Truth. In fear for his soul, Benedict rejected his inheritance and fled Rome.
In the mountains Benedict pursued the call of a quiet life of deep solitude under the direction of a hermit. After spending many years in this solitude, word spread of his holiness. Many monks made pleas to him for his leadership. He warned many that his leadership would be too strict but eventually they insisted. St. Benedict proved to be right when the monks tried to poison him. Story goes that upon praying a blessing over his drink the chalice split and a snake slithered out from its pieces. His next followers seemed to be more sincere but after founding 12 more monasteries he fled after another attack. It was finally in Monte Cassino that he founded the monastery that became the roots of the Church’s monastic system.
St. Benedict’s beliefs and instructions are known as the Rules of St. Benedict and have been used for the last 15 centuries. He is celebrated on his feast day of July 11th and is the patron saint of students and Europe.
Prayer to St. Benedict from the Saint Benedict Medal:
May the holy cross be for me a light
Crux sacra sit mihi lux
Let not the dragon be my guide.
Non draco sit mihi dux.
Begone Satan! Suggest not to me thy vanities
Vade retro Satana; nunquam suade mihi vana
The drink you offer is evil; drink the poison yourself.
Sunt mala quae libas; ipse venena bibas