Saint Benedict was a very accomplished man. In his lifetime he came to the aid of many people. He was a great teacher of his age and a guide to many in their search for God. The teachings of Saint Benedict still affect the lives of people today. His work reinvented monastic life. Through hard work, faith, and piety, this humble man helped shape history.
Theodore Maynard, author of Saint Benedict and His Monks states that Benedict was born in 480 in Nursia, Italy (1). We learn from James McGoldrick's encyclopedia article, Saint Benedict of Nursia, that Benedict's parents were Euproprius and Abundantia. Euproprius and Abundantia were probably very wealthy people of high social standing (136). Benedict had a twin sister named Scholastica, who like Benedict, devoted her life to God at an early age. In his mid to late teens Benedict traveled to Rome to study rhetoric and law.
His nurse, Cyrilla, accompanied him. In Rome, the two lived in a small apartment and Cyrilla kept house for the young man. Benedict was soon offended by the immoral conduct of his fellow students. Not long after arriving in Rome, he left the city in search of a way to live in accordance with the teachings of the Christ (Maynard 2-4).
Benedict and Cyrilla traveled east of Rome to a city called Enfide. It was here that Benedict first experienced monastic life. For a short period of time he lived in the monastery at Enfide (Maynard 9).
In the Encyclopedia of World Biography, the article St. Benedict, informs us that most of the information about Benedict's life comes from the Dialogues of Saint Gregory the Great, pope from 590 to 604 (152). In the Dialogues, Gregory wrote accounts he received from four of Benedict's closest followers.