Saint Benedict and His Order

Saint Benedict was born Benedetto, in Nursia, near to Spoleto. He was a monk, a theologian and he was also the founder of the Order of Saint Benedict (531). Saint Benedict of Nursia is considered the patriarch of monasticism.

Descendant of an aristocratic family, Saint Benedict was sent to Rome to study classical studies, but, disappointed with the moral decadence of the city, he formed the thought that it is just possible to escape the devil with seclusion, religious exercises, and becoming a hermit. After living in Enfide (now Affile), a small community of students a few miles from Rome, he moved into a cave near Subiaco, a place known as Sacro Speco.

After living in that cave for three years, he dedicated himself to prayer and sacrifice. His aura of religiosity and holiness began to attract disciples and followers who wanted to study with him, as well as people who sought advice and spiritual direction.

He was then elected abbot of a monastery in Vicovaro, but because of the rigid lifestyle he implemented, some monks tried to poison him with wine. However, the moment he blessed the food, a serpent came out of the cup that contained the poisoned wine and the goblet broke into pieces. It was this decisive moment that led St. Benedict to leave the community and return to his solitary life.

In 503, with a large number of disciples, he returned to Subiaco and founded 12 small monasteries and in 529, moved to Monte Cassino, where he founded the monastery that would be the foundation of the expansion of the Order of Saint Benedict. It was there that the priest Florencio tried to poison him with a loaf of bread but Benedict, that was feeding in his own hands a raven every day, orders the bird to take the bread away, where it could not be found. He decides to leave and Florencio feels victorious over the feat. However, he dies as his terrace collapses. Benedict felt sad and wept over his enemy's death.

In 534, he wrote the "Rule of Monasteries". He died on March 21, 547, having first announced his death to some monks when he asked them to open his grave.
His twin sister, Scholastica, had died the previous month, on February 10.
Benedict left an extremely precious legacy and today the Benedictine community has more than 354 churches, priories, and 7508 monks, 4115 of whom are priests.