The Benedictines had been founded by St. Benedict of Nursia, who died on this day in about 543.
Little is known about Benedict. Born about 480 in north central Italy, he was the son of a wealthy nobleman, and tradition says his twin sisters was St. Scholastica.
Benedict turned his back on his family's wealth and decided to devote his life to God. He lived as a hermit in a cave for three years, where he became friends with a monk from a nearby monastery. When the abbot of that monastery died, Benedict was asked to replace him. The administrative role did not suit him. When some unhappy monks tried to poison him, Benedict left the monastery and returned to his cave. Benedict's holiness attracted followers, and he eventually built more than a dozen monasteries.
Among the rules of St. Benedict was that a monastery was to give alms (rather than seek them), aid the poor, visit the sick, bury the dead, and feed the hungry. unlike other religious communities, Benedictines do not take a vow of poverty, but vow obedience to Benedict's Rule.
For many years, the feast of St. Benedict was celebrated today. After the reform of the General Roman Calendar in 11969, his feast was moved to July 11.
- Little Black Book, Diocese of Saginaw