History of the Order of St. Benedict:
How it all Began
St. Benedict founded the Order of St. Benedict, a monastic community for men, and his sister, Scholastica, founded the women's monastic counterpart. Much of what we know about St. Benedict can be found in Pope Gregory the Great's account of him.
St. Benedict was near 20 years old when he left Rome for the peace and solitude of a tiny cave high in the mountains near Subiaco, Italy. There, he felt he could seek God. His hermitage was so remote that food had to be lowered to him by friendly shepherds from a plateau jutting out over his cave.
Gregory says that Benedict was discovered by a group of monks who prevailed upon him to become their spiritual leader. His regime soon became too much for the fair-weather monks, so they plotted to poison him. Gregory recounts the tale of Benedict's rescue: when he blessed the pitcher of poisoned wine, it broke into many pieces. Thereafter he left the undisciplined monks.
Benedict eventually moved to Monte Cassino, where he built a monastery and wrote the Rule. Since then, the Rule of St. Benedict has been in constant use in monasteries across the globe, in homes, and in businesses. It remains one of the best, most humane and practical guides to living and working with others. Read Reflections on the Rule of St. Benedict.