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The title piously exaggerates the place of Benedict but in many respects it is true. Benedict did not establish the monastery of Monte Cassino in order to preserve the learning of the ages, but in fact the monasteries that later followed his Rule were places where learning and manuscripts were preserved.For some six centuries or more the Christian culture of medieval Europe was nearly identical with the monastic centers of piety and learning.
, making water flow from rocks, sending a disciple to walk on the water, making oil continue to flow from a flask.
The miracle stories echo the events of certain prophets of Israel as well as happenings in the life of Jesus.
The message is clear: Benedict's holiness mirrors the saints and prophets of old and God has not abandoned his people; he continues to bless them with holy persons. Still he probably read Latin rather well, an ability that gave him access to the works of Cassian and other monastic writings, both rules and sayings. -- Bella features information about the Basilica in Norcia that marks the birthplace of Saint Benedict.
The Rule is the sole known example of Benedict's writing, but it manifests his genius to crystallize the best of the monastic tradition and to pass it on to the European West. In , an encyclical written in 1947 by Pope Pius XII to mark the 1400th anniversary of the death of Saint Benedict, recounts the Patriarch's virtues and summarizes the noble history of his faith-filled followers.
Gregory recounts a vision that Benedict received toward the end of his life: In the dead of night he suddenly beheld a flood of light shining down from above more brilliant than the sun, and with it every trace of darkness cleared away. Benedict, the monk par excellence, led a monastic life that reached the vision of God. Individual monasteries often use local images, stained glass, or statues of the saint to decorate their websites.