"Place your hope in God alone" --Rule of St. Benedict
The man of God Benedict of Norcia, blessed in name and by grace, is one of those remarkable saints whose influence affected the course of history. He is called the "Father and Patron of Europe" because his Rule contributed enormously to the shaping of Western civilization. St. Benedict was born in AD 480 in the small town of Norcia, north of Rome. During his adolescence he was sent by his parents to the great metropolis to pursue his studies. There in Rome Benedict encountered among the students a lifestyle of pleasure and vice and felt repelled by ambiance. "Wishing to please God alone," as his biographer Gregory the Great points out, he decided to abandon Rome's worldly concerns and withdraw to the mountains of Subiaco, thirty miles east, where he embraced a solitary form of monastic life. For St. Benedict the single aim of Christian lives is to seek God and grow in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ. The monk enters a monastery not to become a superior kind of being but simply to live his Christian life to the fullest. The monastery is, in Benedict's words, simply "a school in the Lord's service."