Encountering Saint Benedict in Context


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

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Encountering Saint Benedict in Context

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