Our Patron

Saint Benedict

Saint Benedict, the father of western Christian monasticism, was born in Umbria, Italy, about 480 A.D. He studied in Rome, but fled the moral dangers of the city. He founded a monastery near Subiaco, now Sacro Speca, and developed his “Holy Rule,” which became the norm of all Western monks. He developed his Holy Rule so that laypeople (not clergymen), could live as fully as possible the kind of life presented in the Gospels. He said,  “My words are addressed to thee, whoever thou art, that, renouncing thine own will, dost put on the strong and bright armour of obedience in order to fight for the Lord Christ, our true King." In Benedict’s view of the Christian character, prayer permeated every part of life. Public prayer would bring the community closer to God. He said about private prayer, “"If anyone wishes to pray in private, let him go quietly into the oratory and pray, not with a loud voice, but with tears and fervour of heart" He believed that idleness inevitably led to ruin, and that disciplined work was the remedy to turn “back to God by the labour of obedience, from whom they had departed by the idleness of disobedience". Additionally, Christian life was fundamentally social--Benedictine households are where people live, work, eat and pray together. Benedictine monks would not take vows of poverty, but were expected to live only with what was necessary. Benedictine monasteries gave alms, with the goals to help the poor, clothe the naked, visit the sick, bury the dead, and aid the afflicted. As the cross of Jesus Christ was the chief object of elevation among the first Christians, so it was also for Saint. Benedict. Hence, he is represented bearing the Cross of Christ and the Holy Rule. St. Benedict died in 547. His sister, St. Scholastica, founded the women’s order of Benedictines According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, today  “we find the Benedictines teaching in poor schools and in the universities, practising the arts and following agriculture, undertaking the care of souls, or devoting themselves wholly to study. No work is foreign to the Benedictine, provided only it is compatible with living in community and with the performance of the Divine Office.” Pope Benedict XVI has said of Saint Benedict: “With his life and work, Saint Benedict exercised a fundamental influence on the development of European civilization and culture” and helped Europe to emerge from the “dark night of history” that followed the fall of the Roman Empire. Saint Benedict Academy lives our Patron’s ideals of community, work, and dedication to God within our nurturing Catholic household.