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Saint Benedict of Norcia

Saint Benedict and his rule

The Benedictine order was named after its founder, monk father Benedict of Norcia. Benedict, was born about 480 in Nursia (Norcia) in Umbria and died between 547 and 560 and is considered the "Father of Western monasticism". Pope Paul VI. declared him as "Patron of Europe" in 1964. Knowledge of his life gives the "2nd book of dialogues" attributed to Pope Gregory the Great:


As a young man, Benedict left the ruinous study city of Rome and became a monk in the solitude of the mountains of Subiaco.


As disciples gathered around him, he ordered their lives in small monastic communities.


Around 529, he moved south to build a monastery on Montecassino,

that gave space to a large community.

Romanus gives Benedict the monk's dress
Vatican Library, manuscript 1202, room of Benevento, c. 1050


Benedict became historically effective above all through his rule, which prevailed in the eighth century in the monasteries of the West as a determining norm and up to this days gives innumerable people spiritual instruction.

In it he takes up the tradition of the monastic movement of the 4th and 5th centuries, referring himself to the "holy father" Basilius and the writings of Cassian.

The 73 chapters of the rule of the Rule contain gospel principles, general principles of spiritual teaching, and concrete instructions for shaping communal life. They show a great openness and are characterized by "discretio", by wise moderation, by the gift of distinction.

The common search for God needs the right order of common times and things, of prayer (worship should not be preferred) and working, of eating and sleeping. Thus, a peace order is created in which the equality of all before God and the commonality of possession is maintained, but at the same time consideration is given to the diversity of the individual, their needs and weaknesses.

Basic attitudes of Benedictine god-seeking are:

Listening ("Listen ..., incline the ear of your heart ..." - that's the beginning of the rule);

Obedience as a search for the will of God (to interpret it, the Community chooses an

Humility, described in chapter 7 as an imitation of the humiliation of Christ and the way to perfect love;

Stability (stabilitas), by which the monk perseveres in this way and in his fellowship.

Aussendung der Mönche

Benedict sends out monks
Vatican Library, manuscript 1202, room of Benevento, c. 1050)

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