The Benedictine order is the first and oldest religious order of the Catholic Church. It was founded by Saint Benedict of Nursia (ca 480—548 AD). The life, legend, and miracles of Saint Benedict were past down through Saint Gregory the Great’s second book of “Dialogues”. Saint Benedict was of noble birth but at around the age of 20 he sought and pursued a life of prayer. He became know for his miracles and holiness which attracted others seeking holiness. In time, he gave up his solitude to lead the community of followers that formed at Monte Cassino.
While the details of Saint Benedict’s life are sketchy, the rule of life he fashioned stands as one of the great documents of Christian living. This “Rule of Saint Benedict” is a practical synthesis of the teachings and traditions of early Christian monks. “The Rule” has successfully stood the test of time because of its emphasis on flexibility and adaptability. Through history, “The Rule” has stood as a foundation of practical wisdom rather than a book of rules to be followed literally.
Benedictine education and scholarship is rooted in a tradition. During the Middle Ages, through their libraries and scriptoriums the Benedictines preserved western civilization and served as the only centers of learning and scholarship. It is through this tradition that the running of schools became the focus of many Benedictine Monasteries.
“Ora et Labora”
Since the beginning, St. Benedict’s followers have practice a communal life of Prayer and Work (Ora et Labora). This tradition lives on at Mount Michael Benedictine. Through worship and praise, the faculty, staff and students give thanks for our God given talents and commit ourselves to scholarly work habits “that in all things God may be glorified.”
To learn more about the history of the Benedictines checkout the WebPages of Mount Michael Abbey.
Copies of “The Rule of Saint Benedict” and the “Life and Miracles of St. Benedict” (Book two of the Dialogues) are available in the library.