St Benedict, Father of Western Monasticism

St Benedict was born in Norcia, Italy, around 480 AD. Unimpressed by the quality of learning and life in Rome, he turned his back on such a life and decided to seek God alone.

He found a lonely mountain 40 miles from Rome at Subiaco and lived in a cave to be alone, to pray and to surrender his life utterly to God. The cave is still there with the monastery, which was later built round it. 

Although Benedict sought the life of a hermit, when others sought him out for his guidance and help, he responded. Instead of the solitary search for God, he taught them to seek God together in community. That community at Subiaco, however, did not appreciate the rigour of Benedict’s way and tried to poison him.

The legend says that when the Saint blessed the cup of poisoned wine, it shattered miraculously.

Statue of St Benedict outside the Abbey Church