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St. Benedict

St. Benedict is considered the founder of Western monasticism. He was born of wealthy Christian parents near Rome around 480. He studied in Rome, but became disgusted with the licentious life found in the city and left to seek a quiet life of contemplation. He became friends with a monk named Romanus, and for three years lived as hermit near Subiaco. He gained such a reputation for sanctity that monks from a near by monastery persuaded him to be their abbot, but their way of life and Benedict’s conflicted. He withdrew from the monastery, but founded other monasteries for which he wrote his famed Rule. The Rule of St. Benedict is known for its simplicity and common-sense and it is still followed today in monasteries of both men and women religious around the world. Benedict became known for miracles in his lifetime. In 543 he had vision of his twin sister Scholastica’s soul ascending as a dove to heaven. The saint then predicted his own death, which occurred a few days later. St. Benedict was named the patron of Europe because monasteries of Benedictine monks and nuns helped spread Christianity, learning, and culture throughout the continent.

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