St. Benedict, the founder of Western Monasticism (there were already Catholic monks in the Eastern Church in Egypt and Syria, etc) was born in Nursia, Italy in 480 AD. It’s pretty cool that ‘Benedict’ means blessing in Latin, because that’s exactly what he was for Western Civilization–a blessing. The order of monks he founded were the ones who made copies of literature, ancient history and science, and transcribed the Sacred Scriptures from scrolls and papyrus long before the printing press–thereby forming libraries. They’re the ones who civillized pagan Europe through schools and missionaries. The monks passed on what they learned about organized work and agriculture from their own hands-on labor. Evangelization at it’s best. St. Benedict and Benedictine monks, impelled by the love of Christ, helped to build and preserve Christian Europe.
Pope Benedict XVI took the name Benedict because of his devotion to this Saint:
Filled with sentiments of awe and thanksgiving, I wish to speak of why I chose the name Benedict. Firstly, I remember Pope Benedict XV, that courageous prophet of peace, who guided the Church through turbulent times of war. In his footsteps I place my ministry in the service of reconciliation and harmony between peoples. Additionally, I recall Saint Benedict of Nursia, co-patron of Europe, whose life evokes the Christian roots of Europe. I ask him to help us all to hold firm to the centrality of Christ in our Christian life: May Christ always take first place in our thoughts and actions.
– From Pope Benedict XVI’s first General Audience, April 27, 2005.
At this time when the West needs to be re-evangelized…There is hope.
St. Benedict, pray for us!