St. Benedict was the son of Aigulf, Governor of Languedoc. In his early youth, he served as cup-bearer to King Pepin and his son, Charlemagne.
Grace lit-up Benedict’s soul at age twenty, when he embraced the Sacraments and Traditions handed to the Apostles from Jesus. While serving nobly at his station in Court, he accepted God’s invitations to deny sensible pleasures – mortifying his senses. A narrow escape from drowning caused his to pursue his vocation and enter the cloister of St. Seine.
In reward for his heroic self-denial in the monastic state, God bestowed upon Benedict the gift of tears (Alban Butler). As the monastery’s procurator, Fr. Benedict attended to others’ needs with humility and serenity. He was hospitable to poor people and guests alike.
Declining the abbacy, Fr. Benedict established a hermitage on the brook Anian, and living years in holy solitude. Sould were sent to Fr. Benedict by the Holy Spirit. He counselled them, and their numbers swelled to such proportions that he built a large abbey in response to their needs. In a short time, Fr. Benedict became the abbot of three hundred monks.
Fr. Benedict became the great restorer of monastic discipline throughout France and Germany. He created a perfect code of discipline, with us to this day; handed down like heirlooms to us. The Rule of St. Benedict is profound and simple. It includes moderation of speech, listening as a form of prayer, and prayer with heartfelt compunction. Fr. Benedict excluded jealousies and acted with perfect charity – that is, everything done for God.
In a Provincial Council of 813 presided by King Charlemagne, a decree obliged all monks of the West to adopt the rule of St. Benedict.