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benedict nursiaBenedict was born in 480 in Norcia Umbria.  He was educated in Rome.  Turning his back on the worldliness he encountered there, he retired to live as a hermit in a cave near Subiaco.  His fame spread and disciples began to join him, whom he organised into twelve small monasteries.  He eventually moved to Montecassino, where he founded the famous abbey, and produced his Rule, drawing on the monastic wisdom of the Christian East as well as earlier Western Rules (notably the Regula Magistri) and his own practical experience.  Because this rule was subsequently adopted throughout Europe, he received the title of Patriarch of Western monasticism.  He died on 21 March 547 but since the end of the eighth century, his memory has been observed on this day.  He was proclaimed patron of Europe by Pope Paul VI because of his essential influence in the formation of Christendom. – CTS New Daily Roman Missal 2012, p 2822; Christian Prayer 1990, p 1170

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