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The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict ( la, Ordo Sancti Benedicti, abbreviated as OSB), are a
monastic Monasticism (from Ancient Greek , , from , , 'alone'), or monkhood, is a religion, religious way of life in which one renounces world (theology), worldly pursuits to devote oneself fully to spiritual work. Monastic life plays an important role in ...
religious order A religious order is a lineage of communities and organizations of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific religious devotion, usually characterized by the principles of its founder's religious practice. ...
of the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic Church
following the
Rule of Saint Benedict The ''Rule of Saint Benedict'' ( la, Regula Sancti Benedicti) is a book of precepts written in 516 by Benedict of Nursia ( AD 480–550) for monks living communally under the authority of an abbot. The spirit of Saint Benedict's Rule is summed ...
. They are also sometimes called the Black Monks, in reference to the colour of their
religious habit A religious habit is a distinctive set of worn by members of a . Traditionally some plain garb recognizable as a religious habit has also been worn by those leading the religious and life, although in their case without conformity to a partic ...
s. They were founded by Saint
Benedict of Nursia Benedict of Nursia ( la, Benedictus Nursiae; it, Benedetto da Norcia; la, label=Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin, is non-literary Literature broadly is any collection of written work, but it is also ...

Benedict of Nursia
, a 6th-century monk who laid the foundations of Benedictine monasticism through the formulation of his Rule of Saint Benedict. Despite being called an order, the Benedictines do not operate under a single hierarchy but are instead organised as a collection of autonomous monasteries; they do not have a
superior general A Superior General or General Superior is the leader or head of a religious institute A religious institute is a type of Institute of consecrated life, institute of consecrated life in the Catholic Church where its members take Religious vows, re ...
or
motherhouse A motherhouse is the principal house or community for a religious institute. It would normally be where the residence and offices of the religious superior of the institute would be located. If the institute is divided geographically, it is referred ...

motherhouse
with universal jurisdiction. The order is represented internationally by the
Benedictine Confederation The Benedictine Confederation of the Order of Saint Benedict ( la, Confœderatio Benedictina Ordinis Sancti Benedicti) is the international governing body of the Order of Saint Benedict. Origin The Benedictine Confederation is a union of monastic ...
, an organisation set up in 1893 to represent the order's shared interests.


Historical development

The monastery at Subiaco in Italy, established by
Saint Benedict of Nursia Benedict of Nursia ( la, Benedictus Nursiae; it, Benedetto da Norcia; la, label=Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin is a range of informal sociolects of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language be ...

Saint Benedict of Nursia
529, was the first of the dozen monasteries he founded. He later founded the
Abbey of Monte Cassino Monte Cassino (today usually spelled Montecassino) is a rocky hill about southeast of Rome, in the Latin Valley, Italy, to the west of the town of Cassino and altitude. Site of the Roman town of Casinum, it is best known for its abbey, the fir ...
. There is no evidence, however, that he intended to found an order and the
Rule of Saint Benedict The ''Rule of Saint Benedict'' ( la, Regula Sancti Benedicti) is a book of precepts written in 516 by Benedict of Nursia ( AD 480–550) for monks living communally under the authority of an abbot. The spirit of Saint Benedict's Rule is summed ...
presupposes the autonomy of each community. When Monte Cassino was sacked by the Lombards about the year 580, the monks fled to Rome, and it seems probable that this constituted an important factor in the diffusion of a knowledge of Benedictine monasticism. It was from the monastery of St. Andrew in Rome that
Augustine
Augustine
, the prior, and his forty companions set forth in 595 on their mission for the evangelization of England. At various stopping places during the journey, the monks left behind them traditions concerning their rule and form of life, and probably also some copies of the Rule.
Lérins Abbey Lérins Abbey () is a Cistercian , one of the most influential early Cistercians, seen here depicted in a historiated initial. Cistercian monks standing in a cloister and wearing their religious habits The Cistercians () officially the Order ...
, for instance, founded by
Honoratus Honoratus (french: Saint Honorat or Saint Honoré; c. 350 – 6 January 429) was the founder of Lérins Abbey who later became an early Archbishop of Arles. He is honored as a saint in the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. Life Honoratus wa ...

Honoratus
in 375, probably received its first knowledge of the Benedictine Rule from the visit of St. Augustine and his companions in 596.
Gregory of Tours Gregory of Tours (30 November 538 – 17 November 594 AD) was a Gallo-Roman The term "Gallo-Roman" describes the Romanization (cultural), Romanized culture of Gaul under the rule of the Roman Empire. This was characterized by the Gaulish ...
says that at Ainay Abbey, in the sixth century, the monks "followed the rules of Basil, Cassian, Caesarius, and other fathers, taking and using whatever seemed proper to the conditions of time and place", and doubtless the same liberty was taken with the Benedictine Rule when it reached them. In Gaul and Switzerland, it supplemented the much stricter Irish or Celtic Rule introduced by
Columbanus Columbanus ( ga, Columbán; 540 – 21 November 615) was an Hiberno-Scottish mission, Irish missionary notable for founding a number of monastery, monasteries after 590 in the Franks, Frankish and Lombards, Lombard kingdoms, most notably Luxeui ...
and others. In many monasteries it eventually entirely displaced the earlier codes. By the ninth century, however, the Benedictine had become the standard form of monastic life throughout the whole of Western Europe, excepting Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, where the Celtic observance still prevailed for another century or two. Largely through the work of
Benedict of Aniane Benedict of Aniane ( la, Benedictus Anianensis; german: Benedikt von Aniane; 747 – 12 February 821 AD), born Witiza and called the Second Benedict, was a Benedictine monk and monastic reformer, who left a large imprint on the religious prac ...
, it became the rule of choice for monasteries throughout the Carolingian empire. Monastic scriptoria flourished from the ninth through the twelfth centuries. Sacred Scripture was always at the heart of every monastic scriptorium. As a general rule those of the monks who possessed skill as writers made this their chief, if not their sole active work. An anonymous writer of the ninth or tenth century speaks of six hours a day as the usual task of a scribe, which would absorb almost all the time available for active work in the day of a medieval monk. In the Middle Ages monasteries were often founded by the nobility.
Cluny Abbey Cluny Abbey (; , formerly also ''Cluni'' or ''Clugny''; ) is a former Benedictine The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict ( la, Ordo Sancti Benedicti, abbreviated as OSB), are a monastic religious order of the Catholic Chur ...
was founded by
William I, Duke of Aquitaine William I (22 March 875 – 6 July 918), called the Pious, was the Count of AuvergneThis is a list of the various rulers of Auvergne. History In the 7th century Auvergne (province), Auvergne was disputed between the Franks and Aquitanians. It was ...
in 910. The abbey was noted for its strict adherence to the Rule of St. Benedict. The abbot of Cluny was the superior of all the daughter houses, through appointed priors. One of the earliest reforms of Benedictine practice was that initiated in 980 by
Romuald Romuald ( la, Romualdus; 951 – traditionally 19 June, c. 1025/27 AD) was the founder of the Camaldolese The Camaldolese ( la, Ordo Camaldulensium) monk A monk (, from el, μοναχός, ''monachos'', "single, solitary" via Latin ...
, who founded the
Camaldolese The Camaldolese ( la, Ordo Camaldulensium) monk A monk (, from el, μοναχός, ''monachos'', "single, solitary" via Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structu ...
community. The dominance of the Benedictine monastic way of life began to decline towards the end of the twelfth century, which saw the rise of the Franciscans and Dominicans. Benedictines took a fourth vow of "stability", which professed loyalty to a particular foundation. Not being bound by location, the mendicants were better able to respond to an increasingly "urban" environment. This decline was further exacerbated by the practice of appointing a commendatory abbot, a lay person, appointed by a noble to oversee and to protect the goods of the monastery. Often, however, this resulted in the appropriation of the assets of monasteries at the expense of the community which they were intended to support.


England

The English Benedictine Congregation is the oldest of the nineteen Benedictine congregations. Augustine of Canterbury and his monks established the first English Benedictine monastery at Canterbury soon after their arrival in 597. Other foundations quickly followed. Through the influence of
Wilfrid Wilfrid ( – 709 or 710) was an English bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Ca ...

Wilfrid
,
Benedict Biscop Benedict Biscop (pronounced "bishop";  – 690), also known as Biscop Baducing, was an Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is beh ...
, and
Dunstan Dunstan (c. 909 – 19 May 988) was an English bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the C ...
, the Benedictine Rule spread with extraordinary rapidity, and in the North it was adopted in most of the monasteries that had been founded by the Celtic missionaries from Iona. Many of the episcopal sees of England were founded and governed by the Benedictines, and no fewer than nine of the old cathedrals were served by the black monks of the priories attached to them. Monasteries served as hospitals and places of refuge for the weak and homeless. The monks studied the healing properties of plants and minerals to alleviate the sufferings of the sick. Germany was evangelized by English Benedictines.
Willibrord Willibrord (; 658 – 7 November AD 739) was an Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Cultural identity is a part of a person's identity Identity may refer to: Social sciences * Identity (social science), personhood or ...

Willibrord
and
Boniface Boniface ( la, Bonifatius; 675 – 5 June 754), born Winfrid (also spelled Winifred, Wynfrith, Winfrith or Wynfryth) in the Devon Devon (, also known as Devonshire) is a Counties of England, county of England, reaching from the Bristol C ...

Boniface
preached there in the seventh and eighth centuries and founded several abbeys. In the
English Reformation The English Reformation took place in 16th-century England when the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church. These events were, in part, associated with the wider European Protestant Reformati ...
, all monasteries were dissolved and their lands confiscated by the Crown, forcing their
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic
members to flee into exile on the Continent. During the 19th century they were able to return to England, including to
Selby Abbey Selby Abbey is an Anglican Church of England parish church, parish church in the town of Selby, North Yorkshire, England. It is Grade I listed. Monastic history It is one of the relatively few surviving abbey churches of the medieval period ...

Selby Abbey
in
Yorkshire Yorkshire (; abbreviated Yorks), formally known as the County of York, is a historic county of Northern England Northern England, also known as the North of England or simply the North, is the most northern area of England England ...

Yorkshire
, one of the few great monastic churches to survive the Dissolution. St. Mildred's Priory, on the
Isle of Thanet Image:Thanet - Thanet Scenery (geograph 5434042).jpg, The Isle of Thanet seen from the north The Isle of Thanet () is a peninsula at the most easterly point of Kent, England. While in the past it was separated from the mainland by the Wantsum Cha ...

Isle of Thanet
,
Kent Kent is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and Robert ...

Kent
, was built in 1027 on the site of an abbey founded in 670 by the daughter of the first Christian
King of Kent This is a list of the kings of the Anglo-Saxons, Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Kent. The regnal dates for the earlier kings are known only from Bede, who piously expunged apostates (''Unde cunctis placuit regum tempora computantibus, ut ablata de medio r ...
. Currently the priory is home to a community of Benedictine nuns. Five of the most notable English abbeys are the Basilica of St Gregory the Great at Downside, commonly known as
Downside Abbey Downside Abbey is a Order of Saint Benedict, Benedictine monastery in England and the senior community of the English Benedictine Congregation. Until 2019, the community had close links with Downside School, for the education of children aged ele ...
, The Abbey of St Edmund, King and Martyr commonly known as
Douai Abbey Douai Abbey is a Benedictine Abbey at Upper Woolhampton, near Thatcham, in the English county of Berkshire, situated within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth. Monks from the monastery of St. Edmund's, in Douai, France, came to Woolhampton ...
in Upper Woolhampton, Reading, Berkshire,
Ealing Abbey Ealing Abbey is a Catholic The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics wo ...
in Ealing, West London, and Worth Abbey. The late Cardinal
Basil Hume George Basil Hume, Order of Saint Benedict, OSB (2 March 1923 – 17 June 1999) was an English Roman Catholic bishop. He was a monk and priest of the English English Benedictine Congregation, Benedictine monastery of Ampleforth Abbey and its a ...
was Abbot of Ampleforth Abbey before being appointed Archbishop of Westminster.
Examines the abbeys rebuilt after 1850 (by benefactors among the Catholic aristocracy and recusant squirearchy), mainly Benedictine but including a Cistercian Abbey at Mount St. Bernard (by Pugin) and a Carthusian Charterhouse in Sussex. There is a review of book by Richard Lethbridge "Monuments to Catholic confidence," ''The Tablet'' 10 February 2007, 27. Prinknash Abbey, used by Henry VIII as a hunting lodge, was officially returned to the Benedictines four hundred years later, in 1928. During the next few years, so-called Prinknash Park was used as a home until it was returned to the order. in Ampleforth, Yorkshire was founded in 1802. In 1955, Ampleforth set up a daughter house, a priory at St. Louis, Missouri which became independent in 1973 and became
Saint Louis Abbey The Abbey of Saint Mary and Saint Louis is an abbey of the Catholic Church, Catholic English Benedictine Congregation (EBC) located in Creve Coeur, Missouri, Creve Coeur, in St. Louis County, Missouri in the United States. The Abbey is an import ...

Saint Louis Abbey
in its own right in 1989. As of 2015, the English Congregation consists of three abbeys of nuns and ten abbeys of monks. Members of the congregation are found in England, Wales, the United States of America, Peru and Zimbabwe. In England there are also houses of the
Subiaco Cassinese CongregationThe Subiaco Cassinese Congregation is an international union of Benedictine The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict ( la, Ordo Sancti Benedicti, abbreviated as OSB), are a Christian monasticism, monastic Religious order (Cathol ...
: Farnborough, Prinknash, and Chilworth: the
Solesmes CongregationThe Solesmes Congregation is an association of monasteries within the Benedictine Confederation headed by the Abbey of Solesmes. History The congregation was founded in 1837 by Pope Gregory XVI as the French Benedictine Congregation, with the then ...
, Quarr and St Cecilia's on the Isle of Wight, as well as a diocesan monastery following the Rule of St Benedict: Th
Community of Our Lady of Glastonbury
Since the
Oxford Movement The Oxford Movement was a movement of High Church The term ''high church'' refers to beliefs and practices of Christian ecclesiology In Christian theology Christian theology is the theology of Christianity, Christian belief and practi ...
, there has also been a modest flourishing of Benedictine monasticism in the
Anglican Church Anglicanism is a Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia * ...
and Protestant Churches. Anglican Benedictine Abbots are invited guests of the Benedictine Abbot Primate in Rome at Abbatial gatherings at Sant'Anselmo. There are an estimated 2,400 celibate Anglican Religious (1,080 men and 1,320 women) in the Anglican Communion as a whole, some of whom have adopted the Rule of St. Benedict. In 1168 local Benedictine monks instigated the anti-semitic blood libel of
Harold of Gloucester Harold of Gloucester (died 1168) was a child martyr who was falsely claimed by Benedictine monks to have been ritually murdered by Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are members of ...
as a template for explaining later deaths. According to historian Joe Hillaby, the Benedictine blood libel of Harold was crucially important because for the first time an unexplained child death occurring near the Easter festival was arbitrarily linked to Jews in the vicinity by local Christian churchmen: "they established a pattern quickly taken up elsewhere. Within three years the first ritual murder charge was made in France."


Monastic libraries in England

The forty-eighth rule of Saint Benedict prescribes extensive and habitual "holy reading" for the brethren. Three primary types of reading were done by the monks during this time. Monks would read privately during their personal time, as well as publicly during services and at meal times. In addition to these three mentioned in the Rule, monks would also read in the infirmary. Monasteries were thriving centers of education, with monks and nuns actively encouraged to learn and pray according to the law of St Benedict of Nursia, the collection of functional and religious guidelines advised monks on how they ought to go. Part of this law offered guidelines on understanding. Section 38 states that ‘these brothers’ meals should usually be accompanied by reading, and that they were to feed and drink at silence while one being said loudly. Although somewhat extreme at times, it was probably necessary in order for them to gain the discipline needed to copy such lengthy texts. An anonymous writer of the 9th or 10th century speaks of six hours a day as the usual task of a scribe, which would absorb almost all the time available for active work in the day of a medieval monk. For instance, copying the Bible would typically take up to 15 months to complete. However, Benedictine monks were disallowed worldly possessions, thus necessitating the preservation and collection of sacred texts in monastic libraries for communal use. For the sake of convenience, the books in the monastery were housed in a few different places, namely the
sacristy A sacristy, also known as a vestry or preparation room, is a room in Christianity, Christian churches for the keeping of vestments (such as the alb and chasuble) and other church furnishings, sacred vessels, and parish records. The sacristy is us ...

sacristy
, which contained books for the choir and other liturgical books, the
rectory A clergy house is the residence, or former residence, of one or more priests or ministers of religion. Such residences are known by various names, including parsonage, manse A manse () is a inhabited by, or formerly inhabited by, a , usu ...

rectory
, which housed books for public reading such as sermons and lives of the saints, and the
library A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order to meet the user's needs on a daily basis. A library provi ...

library
, which contained the largest collection of books and was typically in the cloister. The first record of a monastic library in England is in
Canterbury Canterbury (, ) is a City status in the United Kingdom, cathedral city and UNESCO World Heritage Site, situated in the heart of the City of Canterbury, a local government district of Kent, England. It lies on the River Stour, Kent, River Stour ...

Canterbury
. To assist with
Augustine of Canterbury Augustine of Canterbury (early 6th century – probably 26 May 604) was a monk who became the first Archbishop of Canterbury in the year 597. He is considered the "Apostle to the English" and a founder of the Christianity in Anglo-Saxon E ...

Augustine of Canterbury
's English mission, Pope
Gregory the Great Pope Gregory I ( la, Gregorius I; – 12 March 604), commonly known as Saint Gregory the Great, was the bishop of Rome from 3 September 590 to his death. He is known for instigating the first recorded large-scale mission from Rome, the Gregoria ...

Gregory the Great
gave him nine books which included the Gregorian Bible in two volumes, the Psalter of Augustine, two copies of the
Gospels Gospel originally meant the Christian message ("the gospel"), but in the 2nd century it came to be used also for the books in which the message was set out. In this sense a gospel can be defined as a loose-knit, episodic narrative of the words and ...
, two
martyrologies A martyrology is a catalogue or list of martyr A martyr ( Greek: μάρτυς, ''mártys'', "witness"; stem μαρτυρ-, ''martyr-'') is someone who suffers persecution and death for advocating, renouncing, refusing to renounce, or refusing t ...
, an Exposition of the Gospels and Epistles, and a
Psalter Image:Utrecht 15v 2.jpg, 330px, Folio 15b of the Utrecht Psalter illustrates Psalm 27 A psalter is a volume containing the Book of Psalms, often with other devotional material bound in as well, such as a liturgical calendar and litany of the Sai ...

Psalter
.
Theodore of Tarsus Theodore of Tarsus ( gr, Θεόδωρος Ταρσοῦ; 60219 September 690). was Archbishop of Canterbury from 668 to 690. Theodore grew up in Tarsus, Mersin, Tarsus, but fled to Constantinople after the Persian Empire conquered Tarsus and oth ...
brought Greek books to Canterbury more than seventy years later, when he founded a school for the study of Greek.


France

Monasteries were among the institutions of the Catholic Church swept away during the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its ...

French Revolution
. Monasteries were again allowed to form in the 19th century under the
Bourbon RestorationBourbon Restoration may refer to: * Bourbon Restoration in France The Bourbon Restoration was the period of French history The first written records for the history of France appeared in the Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the ...
. Later that century, under the
Third French Republic The French Third Republic (french: Troisième République, sometimes written as ) was the system of government adopted in History of France, France from 4 September 1870, when the Second French Empire collapsed during the Franco-Prussian War, ...

Third French Republic
, laws were enacted preventing religious teaching. The original intent was to allow secular schools. Thus in 1880 and 1882, Benedictine teaching monks were effectively exiled; this was not completed until 1901.


Germany

Saint Blaise Abbey in the
Black Forest The Black Forest (german: italic=no, Schwarzwald ) is a large forest A forest is an area of land dominated by tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting ...

Black Forest
of
Baden-Württemberg Baden-Württemberg (; ) is a state (''Land'') in southwest Germany Southern Germany () as a region has no exact boundary but is generally taken to include the areas in which Upper German dialects are spoken. This corresponds roughly to the h ...
is believed to have been founded around the latter part of the tenth century. Other houses either reformed by, or founded as priories of, St. Blasien were:
Muri Abbey Muri Abbey (german: Kloster Muri) is a Benedictine The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict ( la, Ordo Sancti Benedicti, abbreviated as OSB), are a Christian monasticism, monastic Religious order (Catholic), religious order of ...
(1082),
Ochsenhausen Abbey Ochsenhausen Abbey (formerly Ochsenhausen Priory; german: Reichskloster or ) was a Benedictine The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict ( la, Ordo Sancti Benedicti, abbreviated as OSB), are a Christian monasticism, monastic Rel ...
(1093), Göttweig Abbey (1094),
Stein am Rhein Stein am Rhein (abbreviated as Stein a. R.) is a historic town and a municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative ...

Stein am Rhein
Abbey (before 1123) and Prüm Abbey (1132). It also had significant influence on the abbeys of
Alpirsbach Alpirsbach () is a town in the Freudenstadt (district), district of Freudenstadt in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is situated in the Black Forest on the Kinzig (Rhine), Kinzig river, south of Freudenstadt. Because of the local brewery “Alpir ...
(1099),
Ettenheim Ettenheim is a town in the Ortenaukreis, Baden-Württemberg Baden-Württemberg (; ) is a States of Germany, state (''Land'') in southwest Germany, east of the Rhine, which forms the southern part of Germany's western border with France. With ...
münster (1124) and
Sulzburg Sulzburg is a town in the district Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald, in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is situated on the western slope of the Black Forest, 20 km southwest of Freiburg. Sulzburg had a long tradition of continuous Jewish settlemen ...
(ca. 1125), and the priories of Weitenau (now part of Steinen, ca. 1100),
Bürgel Bürgel is a town in the Saale-Holzland Saale-Holzland (official German language, German name: Saale-Holzland-Kreis) is a ''Kreis'' (district) in the east of Thuringia, Germany. Neighboring districts are (from the north clockwise) the district Bur ...
(before 1130) and Sitzenkirch (ca. 1130).


Switzerland

The abbey of Our Lady of the Angels was founded in 1120.


United States

The first Benedictine to live in the United States was Pierre-Joseph Didier. He came to the United States in 1790 from
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, Paris ha ...

Paris
and served in the Ohio and St. Louis areas until his death. The first actual Benedictine monastery founded was
Saint Vincent Archabbey Saint Vincent Archabbey, is a Roman Catholic Benedictine Monastery in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania in the city of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Latrobe. A member of the American-Cassinese Congregation, it is the oldest Benedictine monastery in the Un ...
, located in
Latrobe, Pennsylvania Latrobe is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It ca ...
. It was founded in 1832 by
Boniface Wimmer Boniface Wimmer OSB (1809-1887) Archabbot Boniface Wimmer, O.S.B. (1809–1887) was a German monk A monk (, from el, μοναχός, ''monachos'', "single, solitary" via Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Itali ...
, a German monk, who sought to serve German immigrants in America. In 1856, Wimmer started to lay the foundations for St. John's Abbey in Minnesota. In 1876, Father Herman Wolfe, of Saint Vincent Archabbey established Belmont Abbey in North Carolina. By the time of his death in 1887, Wimmer had sent Benedictine monks to Kansas, New Jersey, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Illinois, and Colorado. Wimmer also asked for Benedictine
sister A sister is a woman A woman is an adult female Female (symbol: ♀) is the sex of an organism, or a part of an organism, that produces non-mobile ovum, ova (egg cells). Barring rare medical conditions, most female mammals, including fema ...
s to be sent to America by St. Walburg Convent in
Eichstätt Eichstätt () is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world. Origin an ...

Eichstätt
, Bavaria. In 1852, Sister Benedicta Riepp and two other sisters founded
St. Marys, Pennsylvania St. Marys is a city in Elk County, Pennsylvania, Elk County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population is 12,429 as of 2019. Originally a small town inhabited by mostly Bavarian Roman Catholics, it was founded December 8, 1842. It is home to Stra ...
. Soon they would send sisters to Michigan, New Jersey, and Minnesota. By 1854, Swiss monks began to arrive and founded St. Meinrad Abbey in Indiana, and they soon spread to Arkansas and Louisiana. They were soon followed by Swiss sisters. There are now over 100 Benedictine houses across America. Most Benedictine houses are part of one of four large Congregations: American-Cassinese, Swiss-American, St. Scholastica, and St. Benedict. The congregations mostly are made up of monasteries that share the same lineage. For instance the American-Cassinese congregation included the 22 monasteries that descended from Boniface Wimmer.


Benedictine vow and life

The sense of community was a defining characteristic of the order since the beginning. Section 17 in chapter 58 of the
Rule of Saint Benedict The ''Rule of Saint Benedict'' ( la, Regula Sancti Benedicti) is a book of precepts written in 516 by Benedict of Nursia ( AD 480–550) for monks living communally under the authority of an abbot. The spirit of Saint Benedict's Rule is summed ...
states the solemn promise candidates for reception into a Benedictine community are required to make: a promise of stability (i.e. to remain in the same community), ''conversatio morum'' (an idiomatic Latin phrase suggesting "conversion of manners"; see below) and obedience to the community's superior. This solemn commitment tends to be referred to as the "Benedictine vow" and is the Benedictine antecedent and equivalent of the
evangelical counsels In Christianity, the three evangelical counsels or counsels of perfection are Sexual abstinence#Christianity, chastity, Poverty#Voluntary poverty, poverty (or perfect Charity (practice), charity), and Vow of obedience, obedience. As stated by Jesu ...
professed by candidates for reception into a
religious order A religious order is a lineage of communities A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as norms, religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behavio ...
. Much scholarship over the last fifty years has been dedicated to the translation and interpretation of "''conversatio morum''". The older translation "conversion of life" has generally been replaced with phrases such as " onversion toa monastic manner of life", drawing from the Vulgate's use of ''conversatio'' as a translation of "citizenship" or "homeland" in Philippians 3:20. Some scholars have claimed that the vow formula of the Rule is best translated as "to live in this place as a monk, in obedience to its rule and abbot." Benedictine
abbot Abbot (from Aramaic Aramaic (: ''Arāmāyā''; : ; : ; ) is a language that originated among the in the ancient , at the end of the , and later became one of the most prominent languages of the . During its three thousand years long ...

abbot
s and
abbess In Catholicism, an abbess (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the ...
es have full jurisdiction of their
abbey An abbey is a type of monastery A monastery is a building or complex of buildings comprising the domestic quarters and workplaces of monastics, monks or nuns, whether living in Cenobitic monasticism, communities or alone (hermits). A mo ...

abbey
and thus absolute authority over the
monk A monk (, from el, μοναχός, ''monachos'', "single, solitary" via Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (f ...
s or
nun A nun is a woman who vows to dedicate her life to religious service, typically living under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience The three evangelical counsels or counsels of perfection in Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic rel ...

nun
s who are resident. This authority includes the power to assign duties, to decide which books may or may not be read, to regulate comings and goings, and to punish and to
excommunicate Excommunication is an institutional act of religious censure used to end or at least regulate the communion of a member of a congregation with other members of the religious institution who are in normal communion with each other. The purpose o ...
, in the sense of an enforced isolation from the monastic community. A tight communal timetablethe horariumis meant to ensure that the time given by God is not wasted but used in God's service, whether for prayer, work, meals, spiritual reading or sleep. Although Benedictines do not take a vow of silence, hours of strict silence are set, and at other times silence is maintained as much as is practically possible. Social conversations tend to be limited to communal recreation times. But such details, like the many other details of the daily routine of a Benedictine house that the Rule of St Benedict leaves to the discretion of the superior, are set out in its 'customary'. A ' customary' is the code adopted by a particular Benedictine house, adapting the Rule to local conditions. In the Roman Catholic Church, according to the norms of the
1983 Code of Canon Law The 1983 Code of Canon Law (abbreviated 1983 CIC from its Latin title ''Codex Iuris Canonici''), also called the Johanno-Pauline Code, is the "fundamental body of ecclesiastical laws for the Latin Church". It is the second and current comprehens ...
, a Benedictine abbey is a "
religious institute A religious institute is a type of institute of consecrated life in the Catholic Church whose members take religious vows, religious vows and lead a life in community with fellow members. Religious institutes are one of the two types of institut ...
" and its members are therefore members of the
consecrated life Consecrated life (also known as religious life) is a state of life in the Catholic Church lived by those faithful who are Vocation, called to follow Jesus Christ in a more exacting way. Definition According to the Catechism of the Catholic Chu ...
. While Canon Law 588 §1 explains that Benedictine monks are "neither clerical nor lay", they can, however, be ordained. Some monasteries adopt a more active ministry in living the monastic life, running schools or parishes; others are more focused on contemplation, with more of an emphasis on prayer and work within the confines of the cloister. Benedictines' rules contained
ritual purification Ritual purification is the ritual A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, actions, or objects, performed in a sequestered place and according to a set sequence. Rituals may be prescribed by the traditions of a community ...
, and inspired by
Benedict of Nursia Benedict of Nursia ( la, Benedictus Nursiae; it, Benedetto da Norcia; la, label=Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin, is non-literary Literature broadly is any collection of written work, but it is also ...

Benedict of Nursia
encouragement for the practice of therapeutic
bathing Bathing is the washing Washing is a method of cleaning Cleaning is the process of removing unwanted substances, such as dirt, infectious agents, and other impurities, from an object or environment. Cleaning occurs in many different contexts, ...

bathing
; Benedictine monks played a role in the development and promotion of
spa A spa is a location where mineral-rich spring water (and sometimes seawater) is used to give medicinal baths. Spa towns or spa resorts (including hot springs resorts) typically offer various health treatments, which are also known as baln ...

spa
s.


Organization

Benedictine monasticism is fundamentally different from other Western religious orders insofar as its individual communities are not part of a religious order with "Generalates" and "Superiors General". Each Benedictine house is independent and governed by an abbot. In modern times, the various groups of autonomous houses (national, reform, etc.) have formed themselves loosely into congregations (for example, Cassinese, English, Solesmes, Subiaco, Camaldolese, Sylvestrines). These, in turn, are represented in the
Benedictine Confederation The Benedictine Confederation of the Order of Saint Benedict ( la, Confœderatio Benedictina Ordinis Sancti Benedicti) is the international governing body of the Order of Saint Benedict. Origin The Benedictine Confederation is a union of monastic ...
that came into existence through
Pope Leo XIII Pope Leo XIII ( it, Leone XIII; born Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci; 2 March 1810 – 20 July 1903) was the head of the Catholic Church from 20 February 1878 to his death in 1903. He was the oldest pope (living till the age of 93), w ...

Pope Leo XIII
's Apostolic Brief "Summum semper" on 12 July 1893. This organization facilitates dialogue of Benedictine communities with each other and the relationship between Benedictine communities and other
religious order A religious order is a lineage of communities A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as norms, religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behavio ...
s and the church at large. The Abbot Primate resides at the Monastery of Sant’ Anselmo in Rome. In 1313
Bernardo Tolomei Bernardo Tolomei (10 May 1272 – 20 August 1348) was an Italian Roman Catholic Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the peopl ...
established the Order of Our Lady of Mount Olivet. The community adopted the Rule of St. Benedict and received canonical approval in 1344. The Olivetans are part of the Benedictine Confederation.


Other orders

The Rule of Saint Benedict is also used by a number of religious orders that began as reforms of the Benedictine tradition such as the
Cistercian The Cistercians, () officially the Order of Cistercians ( la, (Sacer) Ordo Cisterciensis, abbreviated as OCist or SOCist), are a Catholic religious order of monks and nuns that branched off from the Benedictines and follow the Rule of Saint Be ...
s and
Trappist The Trappists, officially known as the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance ( la, Ordo Cisterciensis Strictioris Observantiae, abbreviated as OCSO) and originally named the Order of Reformed Cistercians of Our Lady of La Trappe, are a ...

Trappist
s. These groups are separate congregations and not members of the
Benedictine Confederation The Benedictine Confederation of the Order of Saint Benedict ( la, Confœderatio Benedictina Ordinis Sancti Benedicti) is the international governing body of the Order of Saint Benedict. Origin The Benedictine Confederation is a union of monastic ...
. Although Benedictines are traditionally Catholic, there are also some communities that follow the Rule of Saint Benedict within the
Anglican Communion The Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also called the Holy Communion or Lord's Supper), the Christian rite involving the eating of bread and drinking of wine, re ...
,
Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also cal ...
, and
Lutheran Church Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an , based on the and of . It is the , with about 2.5 billion followers. Its adherents, known as , make up a major ...

Lutheran Church
.


Notable Benedictines


Saints and Blesseds


Monks


Popes


Founders of abbeys and congregations and prominent reformers


Scholars, historians, and spiritual writers


Maurists


Bishops and martyrs


Twentieth century


Nuns


Oblates

Benedictine
Oblate In Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religio ...
s endeavor to embrace the spirit of the Benedictine vow in their own life in the world. Oblates are affiliated with a particular monastery.


See also

* Dom Pierre Pérignon *
Benedictine Confederation The Benedictine Confederation of the Order of Saint Benedict ( la, Confœderatio Benedictina Ordinis Sancti Benedicti) is the international governing body of the Order of Saint Benedict. Origin The Benedictine Confederation is a union of monastic ...
*
Catholic religious order In the , a religious order is a community of with members that profess s. According to the , they are classed as a type of . Subcategories of religious orders are (canons and canonesses regular who recite the and serve a church and perhaps ...
*
Cistercians The Cistercians, () officially the Order of Cistercians ( la, (Sacer) Ordo Cisterciensis, abbreviated as OCist or SOCist), are a Catholic religious order In the , a religious order is a community of with members that profess s. According ...
* French Romanesque architecture *
Sisters of Social ServiceThe Sisters of Social Service (SSS) are a Roman Catholic religious institute of women founded in Hungary in 1923 by Margit Slachta, Margaret Slachta. The sisters adopted the social mission of the Catholic Church and Benedictine spirituality with a sp ...
*
Trappists The Trappists, officially known as the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance ( la, Ordo Cisterciensis Strictioris Observantiae, abbreviated as OCSO) and originally named the Order of Reformed Cistercians of Our Lady of La Trappe, are a ...


References


Further reading

* Dom
Columba Marmion Columba Marmion, OSB, born Joseph Aloysius Marmion (April 1, 1858 – January 30, 1923) was a Roman Catholic Benedictine Irish monk and the third Abbot of Maredsous Abbey in Belgium. Beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 3, 2000, Columba w ...
, ''Christ the Ideal of the Monk – Spiritual Conferences on the Monastic and Religious Life'' (Engl. edition London 1926, trsl. from the French by a nun of Tyburn Convent). * Mariano Dell'Omo, ''Storia del monachesimo occidentale dal medioevo all'età contemporanea. Il carisma di san Benedetto tra VI e XX secolo''. Jaca Book, Milano 2011. *


External links

*
''Confoederatio Benedictina Ordinis Sancti Benedicti'', the Benedictine Confederation of Congregations



Saint Vincent Archabbey

Boniface WIMMER
* http://www.aimintl.org/index.php/en/
Benedictines - Abbey of Dendermonde
i
ODIS - Online Database for Intermediary Structures

Benedictine rule for nuns in Middle English, Manuscript, ca. 1320, at The Library of Congress
{{Authority control Catholic spirituality Institutes of consecrated life