Biography (Dictionary of World Biography: Middle Ages)
Article abstract: Over fifty years of his life, Benedict took the Greek pattern for the monastic life and adapted it for systematic use in the Latin church; the resulting Rule of St. Benedict became the model for all subsequent monastic movements.
Although the dates of his life are in doubt, it appears that Saint Benedict of Nursia was born about 480, while Simplicius was Bishop of Rome and Odoacer was King of Italy. Benedict’s parents, according to ancient tradition, were Euproprius and Abundantia, people of rather high social standing. It is possible that Benedict’s father was a town councilman or a magistrate.
The only primary source for the study of Benedict’s life is the Dialogues of Saint Gregory the Great, pope from 590 to 604. This source relates practically nothing about Benedict’s parents, but it does contain something about his sister Scholastica and his nurse. Tradition says that Benedict and his sister were twins. Gregory reported that the two loved each other dearly and that both, from an early age, wanted to serve God. The nurse’s name may have been Cyrilla, for that is what early biographers of Benedict called her. There is, unfortunately, no reliable information about the home life of these two future saints, but Gregory indicates that Benedict and Scholastica had no interest in worldly pursuits.
Benedict received what Gregory called a liberal...
(The entire section is 2198 words.)
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