St. Benedict of Nursia was born in 480 in Italy. As a boy, his family sent him to Rome to study humanities, but he was disgusted by the lack of morals he found in his fellow students. He lived for a time with a group of monks, and then withdrew to become a hermit.

Benedict spent three years praying and living a life of solitude before beginning to organize monastic communities. These communities educated children, and attracted many who wanted to live deeper lives of prayer and faith.

In 529, Benedict traveled to Monte Cassino, destroying the pagan temple there and establishing two oratories. It is believed that he developed his “Rule of St. Benedict,” a way of life that emphasizes prayer, work, simplicity and hospitality, in Monte Cassino. His rules are still used today.

St. Benedict died at the age of 63. He is a co-patron of Europe, along with Sts. Cyril and Methodius, and his sister Scholastica is also a saint in the Church.