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Encountering Saint Benedict in Context
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Encountering Saint Benedict in Context


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The importance of locations - geographical and social - to understand St. Benedict

The importance of locations - geographical and social - to understand St. Benedict

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  • 1. EncounteringBenedictAnew
  • 2. Norcia
  • 3.
  • 4. High in the mountains
    Surrounded by woods
    Walled town (only or one of few remaining in Italy)
    Wild boar products are a specialty (sausages, cured meat, skins)
    Home of grandparents of Benedict and Scholastica found under the Church
  • 5.
  • 6. Fertile valley
  • 7. Main Piazza in Center of Norcia
  • 8. Praying in Crypt Chapel
  • 9. Ancient Roman family going back centuries
    Senatorial rank
    Only the senatorial rank could hold local and regional roles in governance
    The “career path” led to higher levels in Rome
  • 10. Sent to study but still of Norcia
  • 11. Rome
  • 12. Rome in 494
    Imperial government in Ravenna, not Rome
    Senatorial power muchreduced
    Population in decline
    Pope remained in Rome
    Rituals and ancient practices remained
  • 13. San Benedetto in Piscinula
    Near the river
    “Piscinula” was an area where fish were sold
    Family’s Rome house, now a church.
  • 14. Young Saint Benedict: His Cell
  • 15. Saint Benedict Leaving School(fresco from Santa Scolastica in Norcia)
  • 16. Subiaco
    Sub Laco – below lakeNero had dammed a river to create a lake for a pleasure villa, from which the town was named. The ruins of the villa remain.
  • 17.
  • 18. Benedict’s cave
  • 19. Scenes from Benedict’s lifealways centered on Christ
  • 20. Benedict’s first cenobitic experience was not a success.On a second effort, he founded 12 monasteries of which one remains today.
  • 21. Benedict’s love of learning
    Benedict often shown teaching, and in the company of scholars and learned saints.
    Gregory termed him “wisely ignorant” – he knew what to learn, and what not to learn.
    He learned from the problems of his first monasteries.
  • 22. Monte Cassino
  • 23. Benedict’s cell is now a chapel.It was here, in his many years at Monte Cassino, that his spirituality matured.He wrote the final edition of his Rule in the years before his death.
  • 24. Writing the Rule(image from ballot box in Norcia)
  • 25. Benedict’s years at Monte Cassino
    A time of war, with the Emperor re-imposing direct government
    Great poverty and crop failures – Rule describes surviving by hard labor
    Goths and Ostrogoths were Arians and Church disputes were common
    Old Roman culture was largely passing away
  • 26. Benedict’s wisdom and vision
    He did not invent the monastic way of life
    He integrated the wisdom of the past
    He kept his eyes fixed on following Christ so that the world did not draw him astray
  • 27.
  • 28. Following Benedict’s path from his mountain home through Rome in decline and the turbulence of his early monastic life reveals the depth of his holiness.His Rule is not simply a document. In its precepts, he has summarized his life and all he learned.The call to be Benedictine is a call to be a blessing.