Today we celebrate the Feast Day of St. Benedict.

Here's what you need to know...

Benedict was born circa 480, into a distinguished Italian family. His twin sister was St. Scholastica.

The young Benedict was sent to Rome for schooling but was quickly dismayed by the amount of sin he saw and retreated into solitude. He ended up spending three years as a hermit in a cave on the side of a cliff.

One day, during his time living in the cave, a beautiful woman appeared. Benedict quickly realized the Devil was tempting him with a mirage. He resisted by jumping into a thorn bush and rolling around.

Other monks learned of his piety and sought him out for direction and help. Benedict began establishing different monasteries throughout the region. 

It was his "Rule of Saint Benedict" that was his greatest achievement. Instead of founding small separate communities he gathered his disciples into one whole community. His Rule was balanced and reasonable and this persuaded most religious communities founded throughout the Middle Ages to adopt it. As a result, his Rule became one of the most influential religious rules in Western Christendom.

For this reason, Benedict is often called the founder of Western Christian monasticism. He was named patron protector of Europe by Pope Paul VI in 1964 and In 1980, Pope John Paul II declared him the Patron Saint of Europe.

He died of a fever not long after his sister, Saint Scholastica, and was buried in the same place as his sister. According to tradition, this occurred on March 21, 543 or 547.

St. Benedict is often pictured with a bell, a broken tray, a raven, or a crosier.

St. Benedict ora pro nobis.

Happy Feast Day everybody!