Life of St. Benedict


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St. Gregory the Great, in Book Two of his Dialogues, gives us all the information we have about St. Benedict. St. Gregory’s intention was to inspire hope in his dejected flock by demonstrating that saints still existed in the midst of the dramatic breakdown of the society of that time. In four books, St. Gregory gives heroic examples of sanctity from all over the Italian peninsula. He devotes an entire book to St.Benedict and describes his monastic vocation, his many trials, and the miracles which God enabled him to perform. However, St. Gregory is not writing a history in the modern sense, and therefore leaves out many details that we would like to know about. At the end of Book Two, St. Gregory acknowledges that the reader might be expecting more, and says: “If anyone wants to know more fully the way of life of the saint, he can find in the instruction of the Rule all the documents of his teaching, because this man of God certainly did not propose any teaching without first having put it into practice in his own life” (Book II, 36).

Read the full history of St. Benedict by St. Gregory the Great here.