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Apr 06th
SAINT BENEDICT, Patron Saint of Europe PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 13 July 2009 17:01
SAINT BENEDICT, Patron Saint of Europe The Christian roots of Europe. Benedict was born in Nursia, Italy about the year 480. After receiving an excellent education in Rome, he returned to Subiaco to live the life of a monk with some disciples he gathered together. He then established the famous monastery Montecassino and wrote his Rule for the monastic life. The volume continued to influence constitutions for religious life today. It has earned for Benedict the title ‘The Father of Western Monasticism’. He died at Montecassino on March 21, 547. Since the end of the Eighth Century his feast has been celebrated on July 11. Benedict was proclaimed Patron Saint of Europe in 1964 for his enormous influence in establishing Christianity on the continent. The Christian roots of Europe. During the fifteenth centennial commemoration of St Benedict’s birth, Pope John Paul II recalled the gigantic contribution this saint made toward the formation of Europe (John Paul II, Address, 1 January 1980). It was a time when the Church, civil society and Christian culture itself were in great danger. Through his sanctity and singular accomplishments, St Benedict gave testimony of the perennial youth of the Church. Furthermore, He and his followers drew the barbarians from paganism toward a civilized and truly enhanced way of life. The Benedictines guided them in building a peaceful, virtuous and productive society interwoven by bonds of fraternal concord (Pius XII, Encyclical, Fulgens radiatur, 21 March 1947). Benedict contributed hugely towards forming the essentially Christian soul and roots of Europe. Without Christianity neither our common culture nor our way of being can be explained or understood (cf L Suarez, Christian roots of Europe, Madrid 1986). European identity itself is not intelligible without Christianity since herein we find the common roots that have brought continental civilization to maturity - Europe’s dynamism, activity and capacity for constructive expansion to other continents as well; in a word, all that constitutes her glory (John Paul II, Address, 9 November 1982). Today we have the misfortune of seeing a concerted and systematic effort to do away with the deeply Christian meaning of our existence, its most essential aspect. On the one hand, the almost exclusive orientation towards the consumption of material goods robs human life of its deepest meaning. On the other hand, work often becomes an alienating experience, a constraint for man, subjected as it is to collectivism, since it is precipitously separated from prayer and deprived of its supernatural dimension (idem, Address, 23 March 1980). At times it seems as though entire nations are heading toward a new barbarism considerably worse than any other in history. Practical materialism is now aggressively imposed on every one in subtle ways. The most sacred principles that were a sure guide of individual and social behaviour - the sanctity of human life, the indissolubility of marriage, the authentic significance of human sexuality, the upright use of material goods made available by progress - are being displaced by false pretexts of freedom (idem, Address, 29 September 1979). It is not an exaggeration to realize that without the appropriate remedy the ideas crystallizing in many places will give way to a new pagan society. Due to the influence of a laicism which prescinds from any relation to God, the rights and duties of citizens are established in civil codes devised without any relation to objective moral law. This transformation is made compatible with an appearance of goodness that only deceives people deprived of religious formation or those who have already lost all awareness of human dignity. In the face of this situation, Pope John Paul II has called us all on various occasions to a new evangelization of Western Europe and the world. Today, on the feast of St Benedict, let us examine our Christian perspective on life and the apostolic spirit that should inspire all our acts. Let us not forget that as the third millenium of the Redemption draws near, God is preparing a great springtime for Christianity and we can already see its first signs (idem, Encyclical, Redemptor missio, 7 September 1990). He wants us to be protagonists of this rebirth of the Faith. We will experience the joy of making Christ known among our families, our friends and colleagues... The Lord will reward our efforts with abundant graces so as to lead us to a greater intimacy with him. With permission from Scepter UK. Short excerpt from IN CONVERSATION WITH GOD by Francis Fernandez. Available at SinagTala or Totus Bookstore 723-4326 or at ( To subscribe or unsubscribe, please email The DEFENSORES FIDEI FOUNDATION actively spreads Ecclesial Information, Catechetical Instructions and Apologetics in pursuit of making good Catholics better Catholics. Any contribution to help this apostolate is heaven-sent and now TAX-DEDUCTIBLE (in USA). Please visit us at

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Here's a health to the company, and one to my lass.Let's drink and be merry all out of one glass.Let's drink and be merry all grief to refrain,For we may and might never all meet here again.~(trad.)