|Medal of St. Benedict|
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St. Benedict (480-547) is one of the most influential saints of the Church. He is best known for his Rule of St. Benedict which the Order of St. Benedict follows to this day. (It is read daily by monks and oblates.) The Rule established the monastic way of life in the West. It covers details as mundane as how much wine monks were to be allotted per day (although St. Benedict bemoans the fact that they demand any at all).
The Rule of St. Benedict and the monasteries it established are credited with preserving civilization as the Roman empire in the West crumbled.
St. Benedict himself displayed great personal holiness, of course. When a young man, he rolled in a brier patch to rid himself of carnal temptations. Many of his miracles recall Old Testament ones. Elijah was fed by ravens. St. Benedict had a raven companion who carried away poisoned bread. Elisha raised an iron ax head a worker lost in the river. So did St. Benedict.
Benedict had a premonition that his beloved monastery at Monte Cassino, in Italy, would not long survive him, and, true enough, it was destroyed by the barbarians. But his order would live on.
St. Benedict's sister was St. Scholastica, who was cloistered nearby. They once spoke late into the night, and St. Benedict insisted on returning to his own monastery. His sister's pleadings availed nothing. At her prayer a terrible thunderstorm broke over their heads, and St. Benedict was obliged to stay. She died shortly after, and that was their last meeting.
The Bear was permitted to touch his rosary to the reliquary containing first-class relics of St. Benedict at St. Meinrad Archabbey in southern Indiana, and he and his mate read from the Rule every day.