Benedictine order
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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 , with 1.3 billion Catholics . As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history ...

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 u ...
. 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 u ...
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 belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European la ...
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 a Northumbria Northumbria (; ang, Norþanhymbra Rīċe; la, Regnum Northanhymbrorum) was an early medieval Anglo-Saxon kingdom in what is now Northern England and Lothian, south-east Scotland. ...

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 The Tudor period occurred between 1485 and 1603 in History of England, England and Wales and includes the Elizabethan period during the reign of Elizabeth I until 1603. The Tudor pe ...
, 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 List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . As the wo ...

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. There are three ...

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, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is derived ...

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 members of the Church of England which eventually developed into Anglo-Catholicism. The movement, whose original devotees were mostly associated with the University of Oxford , mottoen ...
, 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 *W ...
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 usu ...

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 , Concord, Massachusetts Concord () is a town in Middlesex Count ...

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 provid ...

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 and , situated in the heart of the , a local government district of , England. It lies on the . The is the of the and the worldwide owing to the importance of , who served as the to the around the turn of the 7th ...

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 The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide ...
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 country primarily located in Western Europe, consi ...

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 of Baden-Württemberg 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 (1082), Ochsenhausen Abbey (1093), Göttweig Abbey (1094), Stein am Rhein Abbey (before 1123) and Prüm Abbey (1132). It also had significant influence on the abbeys of Alpirsbach Abbey, Alpirsbach (1099), Ettenheimmünster (1124) and Sulzburg (ca. 1125), and the priories of Weitenau (now part of Steinen, Baden-Württemberg, Steinen, ca. 1100), Bürgel Abbey, Bürgel (before 1130) and Kandern#Sitzenkirch, Sitzenkirch (ca. 1130).


Switzerland

The abbey of Engelberg Abbey, 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 and served in the Ohio and St. Louis areas until his death. The first actual Benedictine monastery founded was Saint Vincent Archabbey, located in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1832 by Boniface Wimmer, a German monk, who sought to serve German immigrants in America. In 1856, Wimmer started to lay the foundations for Saint John's Abbey, Collegeville, St. John's Abbey in Minnesota. In 1876, Father Herman Wolfe, of Saint Vincent Archabbey established Belmont Abbey, North Carolina, 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 Nun#Distinction between a nun and a religious sister, sisters to be sent to America by St. Walburg Convent in Eichstätt, Bavaria. In 1852, Sister Benedicta Riepp and two other sisters founded St. Marys, Pennsylvania. Soon they would send sisters to Michigan, New Jersey, and Minnesota. By 1854, Swiss monks began to arrive and founded St. Meinrad Archabbey, 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 u ...
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 professed by candidates for reception into a religious order. 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 "[conversion to] a 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 abbots and abbesses have full jurisdiction of their abbey and thus absolute authority over the Roman Catholic monk, monks or nuns 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, 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, a Benedictine abbey is a "religious institute" and its members are therefore members of the consecrated life. 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, 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; Benedictine monks played a role in the development and promotion of spas.


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'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 orders and the church at large. The Abbot Primate resides at the Monastery of Sant’ Anselmo in Rome. In 1313 Bernardo Tolomei established the Olivetans, 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 Cistercians and Trappists. 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, Eastern Orthodox Church, and 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 (religion), Oblates 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 Pérignon (monk), 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 * Cistercians * French Romanesque architecture * Sisters of Social Service * Trappists


References


Further reading

* Dom Columba Marmion, ''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 Benedictines, Order of Saint Benedict, Catholic spirituality Institutes of consecrated life