Our Patron, St Benedict, was born in Nursia, Italy in 480 AD - and was educated in Rome. He was disgusted by the vices of the city of Rome and in about the year 500, moved to Enfide, fifty kilometres away. He decided to live the life of a hermit and settled in the mountainous region of Subiaco, where he lived in a cave for three years, supported by a holy monk, Romanus.
Despite Benedict's desire for solitude, his holiness and strict life became well-known and he was asked by a community of monks at Vicovaro to be their abbot. He accepted, but after a time the monks rebelled against his strict rule and tried to poison him. His life was saved by his pet raven! He left Vicovaro and went back to Subiaco, which very soon became a centre of holiness, spirituality and learning.
St Benedict's life was saved
by a raven!
Soon disciples again flocked to him as his reputation for holiness, wisdom, and miracles spread far and wide. He organised the monks into a single community and wrote his famous "Rule" prescribing common sense, a life of prayer, study, work and community life under one superior. His "Rule" stressed the importance of obedience, dedication and hard work. It was to affect the spiritual life of the whole of Europe for centuries to come. While ruling his monks (most of whom were not priests) he gave advice to rulers of countries and to popes and ministered to the poor and the destitute. He died at Monte Cassino on March 21 in the year 543 AD.
The motto of the Benedictan Order which he founded is "Ora et Labora" - "Pray and Work". He was named the patron protector of Europe by Pope Paul VI in 1964. His feast day is 11th July, celebrated at the College each year as "St Benedict's Day".