Saint Benedict

St. Benedict is the patriarch of Western monastic tradition. I chose to write about him because his feastday is 11 July, which is my birthday. I always knew that he was the patron saint of my birthday, and I knew some facts about him. But this is the first time I have ever really researched about him. I used sources such as the school and local libraries, my parish priest and my aunt who teaches religious education. I found the school library the most useful for my research.

St. Benedict was born in Nursia, in Umbria in 480. In his early teens he went to Rome to be educated. He was disgusted by the moral squalor of his fellow students. When he was about twenty, he felt he was being called by God to leave Rome and get away from the bad behaviour that was going on there. At first he went to Enfide, a small village in the mountains, thirty miles from Rome. But soon he felt God was calling him to solitude and to abandon the world.

A few weeks later, in search of complete solitude, he went to Subiaco. Here, he came upon a monk, Romanus. They became great friends and to Romanus, Benedict told everything. He told him how he felt about God calling him, about the wrongs of the world, and about how he would change everything if God wanted it.

He stayed in Subiaco for about three years. Whilst he was there, he gained many followers as he preached about God. He also built twelve wooden monasteries, each with about twelve monks. He also taught the children in the local community.

In 529, he left Subiaco and went to Monte Cassino with about a dozen faithful monks. Monte Cassino was half way between Rome and Naples. On the summit of Monte Cassino was a pagan temple dedicated to Apollo. Benedict replaced it with the most famous monastery in Western Christendom. St. Benedict laid the foundation in approximately 530; he was now middle aged.

St. Benedict was struck by fever and became very ill. He put his faith in God to keep him safe. Having received the body and blood of the Lord in Holy Communion, Benedict, in his last hour, was in a small chapel praying. He died standing upright, with his hands outstretched and his soul joined God in heaven.

I admire St. Benedict for all that he did. He brought communities together, taught the children, built chapels and monasteries, all in the faith of God.

Katie Glackin, Year 9
St. Michael's Convent School,
Barnet, North London.