Sunday 18th March 2018

Home » saints » Currently Reading:

Catholic Heroes… St. Benedict

July 8, 2014 saints No Comments


Every month the Apostleship of Prayer publishes the intentions of the Holy Father: one for a universal intention and one for an evangelical intention. In June 2014, the evangelical intention was that Europe may rediscover its Christian roots through the witness of believers.
The advent of Christian civilization coincided with the advent of Western civilization. The Benedictine monasteries established throughout Europe brought about the development of farming, education, and peace. These Benedictine monasteries were started by St. Benedict.
In How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, the author, Thomas E. Woods, explains how St. Benedict came to be called the Father of Europe. The monasteries he founded were the centers of the “literary inheritance of the ancient world, not to mention literacy itself, in the aftermath of the fall of Rome.” The monks founded by St. Benedict developed a network of “model factories, centers for breeding and livestock, centers of scholarship, spiritual fervor, the art of living and social action” (p. 5).
St. Benedict was not the founder of monasticism, but he took monasticism in a new direction in Europe in the fifth and sixth centuries. As a young man, he showed great proclivity for the spiritual life. He was born of a wealthy and noble family in the mountain village of Nursia, northeast of Rome, around 480. When he was a young teen, his parents sent him to Rome to further his education. However, at that time the presence of the Arian barbarians did much to destroy what little morality was left, as they brought their pagan ways to the city.
As a result, St. Benedict decided to leave Rome and go to the village of Enfide, about 30 miles from Rome. His nurse cared and cooked for him. Even though they stayed here for a short time, it was long enough for Benedict to engage in deep discernment. One thing that might have triggered this decision may have been the time he miraculously repaired a borrowed pot that his nurse had dropped and shattered.
Benedict soon realized that God called him to be more than a quiet layman. He knew he must be totally removed from the world, and leave even the quiet life of Enfide. Thus he went to the hills of Subiaco, where he met the holy monk Romanus.
Romanus led him to a cave that was nearly impossible to reach through thick forests and across great canyons. In this cave, Benedict lived for the next three years. The first outsider to see Benedict after this time was a priest who had received a vision from God to take food to him on Easter. Benedict had lost track of time and did not realize that it was Easter, so he ate with the priest.
Not long after, a group of shepherds mistook him for a wild animal because he appeared with animal skins for clothing. When they realized he was a man, they recognized his holiness. They gained much from listening to him about the love of God. Word began to spread about the holy man of the hills. More and more people brought him food as he counseled and preached to them.
Like all holy men, he was severely tempted, especially with the temptations of the flesh. His cure was simple and one used by many saints down through the centuries: having stripped off his clothes, he threw himself into some briers and nettles so that the wounds of the flesh would heal the wounds of the soul. This sacrifice freed him from that particular temptation for the rest of his life.
His reputation inspired a nearby group of monks to seek him out when they needed to replace their abbot who had died. Benedict refused on the grounds that they would not like his austere lifestyle. As they were relentless in their pursuit of him, he finally agreed to serve them. His initial response to them proved to be correct when they plotted to get rid of him.
Benedict discovered their plot to kill him when he blessed a poisoned carafe of wine, which then burst, revealing the plot to him. He immediately rebuked the monks and left to return to Subiaco. Here he would begin to implement that call which he had discerned earlier, but which he had not acted upon.
St. Benedict began to gather men from all walks of life to live in harmony with each other in monasteries away from the world. These men were both nobles and barbarians, rich and poor, learned and simple. They lived in small wooden huts with 12 men in each hut under chosen monks to guide them.
The men lived in harmony by following the example of St. Benedict who spent much time in prayer as well as working hard to support the men — ora et labora. Some historians comment that it is a miracle in itself that the nobles, who joined him with their great abhorrence of physical labor, also joined in the manual tasks of cleaning, farming, and cooking.
St. Benedict — as Pope St. John Paul II would write many centuries later — taught that physical labor was not only dignified but also a way to grow in holiness. Eventually, St. Benedict made it a part of the rule that every member had to engage in labor.
Benedict stayed in Subiaco until circumstances forced him to leave in order to protect his work. The popularity of the saint and his men became so widespread and universal that envious men sought to destroy it by spreading false rumors and trying to poison the saint. His enemies even went so far as to send women of no virtue to tempt the men into sin.
Recognizing that the motivation behind these actions was none other than to undermine his work, St. Benedict abruptly packed and left Subiaco. When he arrived in Monte Cassino, an elevated remote location, he began to draw more people once again. This enabled him to destroy the temple of Apollo there and build two chapels once he had completed a forty-day fast. People would bring rocks and stones which eventually became the great abbey of Monte Cassino. Benedict himself placed the foundation around 530.
Here in Monte Cassino his rule was formalized and the pattern established that would bring the advancement of civilization to Europe as the monks sought to teach, sanctify, and labor not only for God but also for man. Benedict did much to confirm his work by the many services to the poor and needy, including miracles for their benefit.
In 543, six days before his death, he instructed his men to dig his grave. He received our Lord and died just as the grave was completed. His body was buried next to his sister, St. Scholastica, on the hill where he had destroyed the temple to Apollo. His feast day is July 11.

+    +    +

(Carole Breslin home-schooled her four daughters and served as treasurer of the Michigan Catholic Home Educators for eight years. For over ten years, she was national coordinator for the Marian Catechists, founded by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Vatican admits doctoring photo of Benedict’s letter praising Pope Francis

VATICAN, March 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — One of the world’s leading news agencies has said the Vatican breached journalistic standards by doctoring a photo of a letter from Benedict XVI praising Pope Francis. According to the Associated Press, the doctoring…Continue Reading

Cardinal Müller: The Pope has no power to change Humanae Vitae

ROME, March 8, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Pope has no power to change or relax the Church’s ban on artificial contraception, just as he can never allow women to be ordained, Cardinal Gerhard Müller said on Wednesday. The former prefect…Continue Reading

Catholic bishops stand by spokesman after racism comment

New Mexico’s three Catholic bishops on Tuesday rejected a call by 33 Republican state legislators to punish the Catholic Church’s spokesman for saying racism played a part in the defeat of an initiative to expand early childhood education. In fact,…Continue Reading

Jim Caviezel tells university students to ‘stand out’ and ‘be saints’

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio, March 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholic actor Jim Caviezel, who famously played Jesus in The Passion of the Christ, told university students on Sunday that they must set themselves apart from this “corrupt generation” and “be saints.” “You weren’t…Continue Reading

Catholic hierarchy to be confronted over gender inequality

“Powerful vested interests” within the Catholic church are being challenged at a conference in Rome on International Women’s Day as calls grow for women to be given positions of authority and influence in the church. In a sign that a new assertive…Continue Reading

Study shows why young Catholics leave the church

They stopped believing in God. They saw a disconnect between what Catholics say and what they do. They disagreed with the church’s stance on social issues such as homosexuality and birth control. They are the growing numbers of young Catholics…Continue Reading

Number of Catholic weddings falls by two-thirds since 1990

The number of Catholic weddings in England and Wales has fallen dramatically in the last 25 years, according to new figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). In 2015, the most recent year for which statistics have been recorded,…Continue Reading

Georgetown honors pro-abortion Senator whose bishop just barred him from Communion

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 28, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Tonight, Georgetown University will present pro-abortion Senator Dick Durbin, D-IL, whose bishop recently barred him from Holy Communion, with an award for devoting “his life to the core Jesuit value of service to…Continue Reading

Dozens of Catholics arrested as they ask Congress to help ‘Dreamers’

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Dozens of Catholics, including men and women religious, were arrested near the U.S. Capitol Feb. 27 in the rotunda of a Senate building in Washington as they called on lawmakers to help young undocumented adults brought to…Continue Reading

Catholic Church frets that religion ‘slipping off agenda’ in schools

The Catholic Church has raised concerns in meetings with State education officials that religion is “slipping off the agenda” in their schools. In a record of a meeting between the Education and Training Boards Ireland(ETBI) and Catholic Church representatives it was suggested that…Continue Reading


Beyond decades, for generations the Catholic bishops of Texas, saying they are obeying the law, but hiding behind the convenient cover of saying they are fearful of losing their tax exempt status, have said they must remain silent about those…Continue Reading

U.S. Catholic university lists ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ as words students should avoid

DAYTON, Ohio, February 23, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic university in Ohio has put the words “husband” and “wife” on a list of words that students should n’t use in order to meet “professional expectations.” The University of Dayton’s (UD)…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love


  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading


Today . . .

Vatican prepares to issue two documents on ‘gender theory’

ROME, March 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and the Congregation for Catholic Education are each preparing to release documents on “gender theory,” the radical ideology behind transgenderism. The Congregation for Catholic Education’s document, expected to be released in the next two months, won’t “enter the heart of the debate,” the dicastery’s secretary Archbishop Angelo Vincenzo Zani said. Instead, it will repeat “important educational principles.” The CDF’s document…Continue Reading

Judge bans pro-lifers from going near abortion centers in unprecedented ruling

WEST BLOOMFIELD, Michigan, March 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A judge sentenced five pro-life activists today to one year of reporting probation, eight days of community service, more than $1,000 in fines each, and forbade them from going within 500 feet of any abortion facility in the United States. Several of them will likely serve jail time for refusing to pay the fines or perform community service. Some of them could end up being in jail…Continue Reading

Over 10,000 sign petition urging Disney not to make Frozen’s Elsa a lesbian

March 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – More than 10,000 people have signed a petition asking Disney to not depict Elsa as a lesbian in Frozen 2. “From every corner of society, young girls already face confusing and troubling messages about sexuality,” the petition, hosted on LifeSiteNews’ petition platform LifePetitions, says. The petition platform also gives signers the option to send Disney a postcard expressing their concerns. So far, over 200 postcards h

Don’t let gender ideology confuse students, English cardinal urges

London, England, Mar 13, 2018 / 06:09 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Criticizing ideological trends regarding gender identity, Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster has said that accepting that one’s biological sex is built-in to humanity helps escape destructive individualism through participation in the human family. “At a time of great confusion about the rules of sexual behavior, about exploitation and abuse in every part of society, some firm points of reference, that are already built into our…Continue Reading

Controversial LGBT event drops ‘Catholic’ label after bishop’s statement

Cincinnati, Ohio, Mar 12, 2018 / 03:55 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- An event hosted by the University of Cincinnati on faith and the LGBT community has dropped ‘Catholicism’ from its label after the local bishop sent an email to all diocesan priests and deacons, reiterating that the event did not have diocesan approval. The event was originally titled: “Building Bridges: A Dialogue on Faith, Catholicism, and the LGBTQ Community.”


The Stoneman Douglas Shootings And Divine Providence

By C.F. MONTESANO (Editor’s Note: C.F. Montesano is vice president with a maritime trade association in Virginia. He serves as a lector at the Cathedral of St. Matthew in Washington, D.C. Last summer, he was selected by Signum University to be a presenter at its annual “Mythmoot” conference for enthusiasts of J.R.R. Tolkien.) + +…Continue Reading

Key Abuse Charge Against Cardinal Pell Withdrawn

By HANNAH BROCKHAUS MELBOURNE, Australia (CNA/EWTN News) — An Australian prosecutor on March 2 withdrew a charge of abuse against George Cardinal Pell, who is currently undergoing a trial in Australia for accusations of past sexual abuse. The charge was dropped by Prosecutor Mark Gibson March 2 after its key complainant died in January. It…Continue Reading

Fatal Delusions Of Western Man

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN “We got China wrong. Now what?” ran the headline over the column in The Washington Post. “Remember how American engagement with China was going to make that communist backwater more like the democratic, capitalist West?” asked Charles Lane in his opening sentence. America’s elites believed that economic engagement and the opening…Continue Reading

The Holy Week Tradition Of Tenebrae

By JAMES MONTI As many of our readers know, for at least thirteen centuries, and very probably longer, there has existed in the Roman liturgy a uniquely ceremonial recitation of the offices of Matins and Lauds from Holy Thursday to Good Friday known as Tenebrae (“Darkness”). The thirteenth-century prelate and liturgist William Durandus of Mende…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic… The Florida School Shooting, Gun Control, And Trust In Government

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bi-monthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Sacramentals In The Life Of The Church

By DON FIER For almost two years we have been examining the Church’s teaching, as articulated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), on the seven sacraments. As has been emphasized repeatedly, it is an infallibly taught dogma of our faith that Christ Himself instituted each of the seven sacraments during His visible stay on Earth. Moreover, it has…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. In discussing the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Christ, a friend wondered why Christ, who is omniscient, would say that only the Father knows the end of the world. Please clarify this. — L.S., via e-mail. A. In Mark 13:32, Jesus said of the day that the world will end, “no one knows, neither the angels in…Continue Reading

The Hour Of The Covenant

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Sunday Sermon for March 18, 2018 Fifth Sunday Of Lent (YR B) Readings: Jer. 31:31-34 Hebrews 5:7-9 John 12:20-33 The first reading today is one of the most important in all of the Old Testament because it plainly declares that God is going to make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house…Continue Reading

Cardinal Mueller… The Magisterium Is Not Supposed To Lead Faithful “Into Confusion”

(LifeSiteNews) — Formulating pastoral practices based on “individual cases” is a “rhetorical trick” that undermines the unity of the faith, said Gerhard Cardinal Mueller in an interview published the past week in German and translated into English by LifeSiteNews. “That is why papal and episcopal statements on the reception of the Sacraments have to be prepared in such a clear…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Pelagian And Gnostic: Amoris Laetitia Gets Placuit Deo Fail

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s letter Placuit Deo to the Church’s bishops on “Certain Aspects of Christian Salvation” contradicts those elements of Amoris Laetitia that have been interpreted to allow reception of Communion by the divorced and civilly remarried. Many of our readers are already familiar with the time bombs planted in…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Clement Mary Hofbauer

By CAROLE BRESLIN It has been said that the four characteristics of good prayer are that it must be sincere, it must be humble, it must be confident, and it must be persevering. This can also be said of the Christian life and a person’s approach to seeking to do the will of God: humble, sincere, confident, and persevering. St.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Luigi Orione

By CAROLE BRESLIN Suffering, great persecutions, humiliations, obstacles to entering the religious life — all of these seem to be the lot of those destined to become saints. In fact, without these pains present in their lives, chances are that their causes for canonization would not proceed. Why would someone want to become a saint if that is the path?…Continue Reading