Benedict of Nursia

Benedict of Nursia
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Benedict of Nursia biography

Benedict of Nursia (480 AD -547 AD) was born in Nursia, Italy. Religious, founder of the Order of the Benedictines and patriarch of the western monks. Benedict of Nursia is one of the most prominent figures of Christianity, his precepts and ideas have been transmitted by the religious and scholars from his death until today. Born into a family with great influence, he focused on the study of rhetoric, law, and philosophy. Later, he felt the call and isolated in the Subiaco desert, where he was ordained. In the following years, he dedicated himself to monastic life establishing various monasteries, subsequently wrote his best-known work, Regula monasteriorum (ca.540 AD), which he established as axes of monastic life, obedience, humility and self-denial, virtues for which the religious was known.

The information that is known about the life of the religious has been taken from the Book of dialogues of St. Gregory the Great, in which he delved into the childhood, youth and trajectory of the religious. He was born into a wealthy family that came from Rome, a city in which he carried out his academic training, at that time he learned about rhetoric, law, and philosophy. During this period of formation, Benedict observed the society in which he lived, which was corrupted by various vices, a situation that oppressed and worn him out, tired of this he decided to leave the world at twenty, to focus on his spiritual formation.


Benedict of Nursia the monk

He fled the city, taking refuge for a short time in Enfida, later retired to the Subiaco Desert, where he spent three years living in a small cave. During these years he lived facing various hardships and avoiding contact with other people. Around the year 503, he was discovered by a Roman monk, who conferred on him the monastic habit, followed by an abbot by a group of religious who lived around Vicovaro, in the company of these he lived for several years. However, later tired of the rigor and discipline of the abbot tried to poison him. After the threat, he founded twelve monasteries in the region with his faithful disciples and others who had come to him for help. These institutions were quickly occupied by monks.

In the monasteries, Benedict established a strict routine and monastic lifestyle that was based on the precepts shared in the Rule of St. Basil, a compendium of questions and answers in which the monk advised the religious on the appropriate way to behave and the bases of monastic life. The book highlights virtues such as obedience, renunciation, and self-denial since these should be the basis of all monastic life. Plácido and Mauro arrived at the monastery, children of the Tertulo and Equicio patricians, who became the most devout disciples of the monk. By this time the popularity of the monk had made him one of the most prominent figures of his time, which caused the emergence of resentment by other brothers, such as the priest Florencio.

Florencio prominent religious of the sixth century, motivated by jealousy decided to attack the selfless monk, whom he tried to poison by means of bread. After the failure of this method, he planned to affect the monk by tempting his disciples. However, his plans had no results and shortly thereafter he died due to the collapse of the place where he lived. Upon overcoming the new threat, Benedict moved to Campania along with some of his disciples, founded the famous Cassino (Montecassino) on the site, to settle in the place he collapsed the vestiges of paganism that remained in the area, such as the altar of Apollo built for the inhabitants. In the same place, he installed the prayer centers of San Juan and San Martín.

After the installation of the oratories Benedict and his disciples inhabited the monastery, which over time became the largest center of knowledge of Christendom. Benedict spent the rest of his life in the monastery where he worked and prayed the monks rigorously following the foundations of monastic life; while the monk lived selflessly, he wrote Regula monasteriorum, a work for which he is one of the most prominent figures of Christianity. In Regula monasteriorum (Rule of monasteries) or Rule of St. Benedict, the monk meets the precepts of monastic life, having as its main mandate the Ora et labora (prays and works), to fulfill this the monk created a rigorous schedule in which took into account the environment in which the monastery lived so that the religious took advantage of every moment of the day regardless of the season of the year. In the book, Benedict established hours for work, prayer and rest.

This book profoundly influenced the way they have lived or the cenobites since then, with some modifications it has continued to be applied as a model in the life of the monastic community. The influence of the monk’s ideas and ideas spread throughout the Carolingian era (VIII-IX) and has remained in the Benedictine Order.

The prominent religious died on March 21, 547 A.D., at age of 60. At the end of the 8th century, his feast began on July 11, since then on that date the saint is commemorated, although, it is usually celebrated on March 21, and since it was the day he died.

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