Science & Culture
Benedict was born to a noble Nursian family sometime around 480 A.D. and is said to have had a twin sister, Scholastica. After a privileged childhood, he gave up material wealth and opted for a life of serving God. He left Rome for Enfide and found there a group of likeminded men. It is said he performed his first miracle in Enfide, restoring a vessel to perfect condition after his servant had broken it. The attention he received made Benedict uneasy, and he fled alone to Subiaco, determined to live a life of poverty and hard work. On his way to Subiasco, Benedict encountered a monk who convinced him to live as a hermit in a cave overlooking a lake. For three years Benedict stayed there. When the abbot of a local monastery died, the monks there begged Benedict to accept the title, and, with hesitation, he accepted. Discord ensued, and the monks who once begged for his leadership eventually tried to kill him. He is credited as the founder of western monasticism and developed his "rule," or guidelines for how to live as a monk in these communities. While maintaining continuity with traditional guidelines, it also contained elements that promoted balance and moderation and therefore became quite popular in religious communities of the time.