Saint Benedict of Nursia (c.480-547)

for July 11

Much of what we know about Saint Benedict comes from legends, and their accuracy is debated by scholars. Legend holds that he was born in the mountains northeast of Rome, and that he fled the eternal city as a young man to become a hermit. He went on to found monasteries south of Rome, writing a rule for the monks to live by. The Rule of Benedict was followed by thousands of monasteries in Europe. Those following Benedict's order own nothing personally, although they have enough food, drink, and clothing. They work with their hands for about six hours a day. Their leisure is spent reading Scripture and holy writings and praying with the community. A large focus of the Benedictine Rule is to show great compassion and hospitality to strangers, the young, the old, and the sick. Saint Benedict's love and knowledge of Scripture shaped his Rule. In it he often quotes the Gospels, for example, "Let all guests who arrive be received like Christ, for He is going to say, 'I came as a guest, and you received Me'"(Matthew 25:35) (Rule of Benedict, chapter 53). The Rule of Benedict was also written for ordinary Christians who want to develop a pattern of living like Christ. Today, the spiritual wisdom of Saint Benedict continues to lead over 20,000 monastic men and women and uncounted oblates (lay associates). His feast day is July 11. (Taken from "The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth.")

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Saint Benedict had an unparalleled impact not only on the Benedictine orders but also on our current understanding of living the Christian life. He emphasized compassion for "strangers, the young, the old and the sick." To whom do you show compassion?


Ask Jesus to help you feel compassion for others and for yourself. Ask that he would show you opportunities to love others and to compassionately appreciate yourself.