St. Benedict by Georges Jansoone
Memorial (1969 Calendar): July 11
Greater Double (1955 Calendar): March 21
St. Benedict is probably one of the Catholic Church's most recognized saints, who died in March, but his feast day was moved to July because during Lent feast days are optional [Note: This applies only to the modern calendar and not the Traditional Catholic Calendar]. Yet, the Church views this saint so importantly that his feast day became required to celebrate.
Saint Benedict of Narsia (c. 480 - c. 547) is called the Founder of Western Monasticism. He was born c. 480 in Narsia, Italy as part of the Roman nobility and as the twin brother of Saint Scholastica. He studied in Rome but was dismayed by the lack of discipline there. St. Benedict retreated to the mountains near Subiaco and lived as a hermit in a cave for three years. Legend even says that during this time of meditation and prayer, he was fed by a raven.
Because of his virtues, he was requested to lead an abbey of monks. So he founded the monastery at Monte Cassino. It was there that he wrote the Rule of St. Benedict, which Benedictine Monks still follow today. However, his inforced discipline and holiness was not liked by everyone.
Several monks tried to poison him. Yet as St. Benedict said the prayer of blessing and made the sign of the Cross over his meal before he ate and drank, the poison was rendered harmless. St. Benedict returned to his cave, but he attracted many followers. He would found 12 monasteries.
St. Benedict had the ability to read consciences, prophesy, and forestall attacks from the devil. He destroyed many pagan statues and altars and drove demons from groves sacred to pagans. Many people wear the St. Benedict's Crucifix today.
St. Benedict died on March 21, 547, due to a fever while in prayer at Monte Cassino, Italy. His remains are beneath the High Altar in the same tomb as his twin brother, St. Scholastica. At one point over 40,000 monasteries followed the Benedictine Rule. His Rule has been summed into three words: Ora et labora (Pray and work).
Let the blessed Abbot Benedict intercede for us, O Lord. May his prayers win us Your help, since our own actions cannot merit it. Through Our Lord . . .
Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal