St. Benedict (a.d. 470-543) was born in Nursia, Italy, to eminent and wealthy parents. He was sent to Rome for schooling early, but soon left to dedicate his life to Christ. He entered a monastery, but when, by God’s grace, he worked a miracle, he left to live an unknown life of strict asceticism for three years in a mountain cave near Subiaco. Fleeing the praise of men, God showed the lamp of his blessedness to those around him, and so a nearby monastery asked him to become their abbot.
Reluctantly, St. Benedict accepted their offer, but in time some of the monks were so angry by his monastic guidance that they poisoned him, but he remained unharmed. When he made the Sign of the Cross over the poisoned vessel, it shattered into many pieces. Taking the earlier monastic regulations of St. Pachomius, St. Basil the Great, and St. John Cassian, St. Benedict brought their wisdom together in a way that would adapt to the Western lands that he lived in about a.d. 530. This is known as the Rule of St. Benedict. He founded 13 monasteries and is the father of monastic life in the West. He died with hands uplifted in prayer.