Saint Benedict History

Essay by ladeeiaA+, September 2004

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Saint Benedict was born in Nursia, a small town in Umbria, in north central Italy, in 480 to an upper-class family. Saint Benedict went to Rome to finish his education, where the power of the voice without foundation in the heart was the goal of the student's education. Saint Benedict became dominated by the study of rhetoric, which an successful speaker was not one who had the best argument or conveyed the truth, but one who used rhythm, eloquence and technique to convince. However, this philosophy of speaking to people without anything from the heart disgraced Saint Benedict. Not being able to continue with an education that taught the speakers to deceive their listeners Benedict fled Rome giving up his inheritance and lived as a hermit near Subiaco. After living for a while as a hermit, he was approached by some monks who wanted him to be their leader and guide.

Subsequently he founded additional monasteries, most notably Monte Cassino near Naples where he wrote his Rule for Monasteries. He is viewed as the Father of Western Monasticism and is special benefactor of Europe where Benedict's monks played a unique role in preserving Roman civilization and culture through the medieval times. Monasteries in all parts of the world look upon Benedict as their Father.

Saint Benedict wrote his Rule for all who wanted to become monks. The Rule is comprised of brief details of the psalms and prayers to be used in the Divine Office, and of the manner and degrees of correction and satisfaction for faults are settled with almost particular care. Nevertheless, when Saint Benedict wrote, he had a clear idea that the monastic life was a sharply different state from that of the clergy. The life he offered was the only alternative to a life in full...