Collect: O Lord, we beseech thee mercifully to hear us; and grant that we, to whom thou hast given an hearty desire to pray, may, by thy mighty aid, be defended and comforted in all dangers and adversities; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Thursday, July 11 – St. Benedict of Nursia
All we know about St. Benedict of Nursia is what St. Gregory the Great wrote about him in the second book of his dialogues. St. Benedict and his twin sister St. Scholastica were born around 480 in the city of Nursia in central Italy. The Roman Empire had collapsed in 476. When Benedict was sent to Rome to study when he was 14, he was so appalled by the immorality of his fellow students and the city itself that he secretly fled and joined a small community of scholars 30 miles away. He then became a hermit in Subiaco, where he began to attract followers. Eventually, after a few poisoning attempts from monks who had wanted him to be their abbot and a jealous priest, Benedict decided to leave and go to Monte Cassino, which became the site of the most famous abbey in all the world. They also built a convent for women near there which was governed by Scholastica. It was at Monte Cassino where Benedict eventually wrote his Rule for Monks, which became the foundation of western monasticism. Here is an excerpt from the prologue:
“Dear friends, what can be more delightful than this voice of the Lord inviting us? Behold, in his loving mercy, the Lord is showing us the way of life. Clothed then with faith and the performance of good works, and with the gospel as our guide, let us set out on this way of life that we may deserve to see the God ‘who is calling us in his kingdom.’
Benedict died at Monte Cassino around the year 550.
Homely (and Other) Links
- I’m looking forward to reading The Holy Twins: Benedict and Scholastica to my children for St. Benedict’s feast day (It’s by Kathleen Norris and illustrated by Tomie de Paola.). Would any of you recommend this Life of St. Benedict by John McKenzie? Any other children’s book recommendations on St. Benedict?
- From the July 2017 archives, How to Survive Your Sunday Shrieker, gives vital information on how to identify your child’s stage of Sunday morning shrieking (Parrot? Bat? Pterodactl? Nazgul?) and what to do about it.