St. Benedict, historians say, was born in the year 480. When Benedict was of age he went to school in Rome. He found the environment so empty and so degenerate that it turned him against public life completely. For Benedict, the flight was not simply to a different environment. The flight was to a completely different way of life, to another set of values, to a whole new conception of what was involved in living life at its best. At first, Benedict became a hermit in the hills outside of Rome. Eventually he became founding abbot of a series of monasteries and founder of a way of life that we now know as contemporary Benedictinism.
The ancient Dialogues of Gregory, the only source of biographical material that we have on Benedict, tells us stories in the metaphorical style of the time that give insight into the qualities and character rather than simple historic detail. The stories are fanciful to modern ears, perhaps, but logical to the heart. These are the things of which humanity is made: the spiritual life and human community. Benedict does not shine in the human constellation of stars because of who he was as an individual. No, Benedict stands out in history because of what his life did for centuries of lives to follow.
Benedict showed the world a better way to live by living it. He gave hope by hoping. He left a legacy to life that confronted every age with a vision beyond its own and lasted far beyond all of them.
From The Benedictine Way: A Novena
by Joan D. Chittister, OSB
St. Benedict…pray for us.
Photo: Statue in Norcia, Italy, of Saint Benedict; taken by Sister Edith Bogue, OSB.
Sister Lisa Maurer
Sister Lisa Maurer was born and raised in Sleep Eye, Minnesota. Before entering the Monastery in 2007, she taught and coached in Catholic Schools within the New Ulm Diocese. Sister Lisa Made her Perpetual Monastic Profession in July ll, 2012. Her first ministry as a Benedictine Sister was working at the parishes of St. Lawrence and St. Joseph in Duluth. Currently she is Director of Mission Integration for the Benedictine Health System.