Benedict of Nursia

Saint Benedict / Saint Benoît

Benedict of Nursia OSB, 2 March AD 480 to 21 March AD 548, often known as Saint Benedict, was an Italian Christian monk, writer, and theologian who is venerated in the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Anglican Communion, and Old Catholic Churches. He is a patron saint of Europe.

Benedict founded twelve communities for monks at Subiaco, Lazio, Italy (about 65 kilometres (40 mi) to the east of Rome), before moving to Monte Cassino in the mountains of central Italy. The Order of Saint Benedict is of later origin and, moreover, is not an "order" as is commonly understood but merely a confederation of autonomous congregations.

Benedict's main achievement, his Rule of Saint Benedict, contains a set of rules for his monks to follow. Heavily influenced by the writings of John Cassian, it shows strong affinity with the Rule of the Master, but it also has a unique spirit of balance, moderation and reasonableness (ἐπιείκεια, epieíkeia), which persuaded most Christian religious communities founded throughout the Middle Ages to adopt it. As a result, his Rule became one of the most influential religious rules in Western Christendom. For this reason, Giuseppe Carletti regarded Benedict as the founder of Western Christian monasticism.

Benoît de Nursie, né vers 480 à Nursie (en italien Norcia) en Ombrie, mort en 547 dans le monastère du Mont-Cassin ; en latin Benedictus de Nursia), saint Benoît  pour les catholiques et les orthodoxes, est le fondateur de l'ordre des Bénédictins et a largement inspiré le monachisme occidental ultérieur.

Il est considéré par les catholiques et les orthodoxes comme le patriarche des moines d'Occident, grâce à sa règle qui a eu un impact majeur sur le monachisme occidental et même sur la civilisation européenne médiévale. Il est souvent représenté avec l'habit bénédictin (coule noire), une crosse d'abbé, ainsi qu'une bible.

Saint Benoît est fêté le 11 juillet, date de la célébration de la translation de ses reliques à l'abbaye de Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire.

Medaille de Saint Benoît 

 St. Benedict medal / Médaille de Saint-Benoît

Author: Daniel Tibi 

La médaille de saint Benoît est une médaille catholique datant du Moyen Âge, supposément utile comme exorcisme pour la lutte contre les démons. Elle est liée à Benoît de Nursie 

This religious object is also a Christian symbol of opening doors and opening difficult paths. Tradition holds that it protects from curses, evil and vice, protects against diseases and protects good health.

The reverse side of the medal carries the Vade retro satana ('Begone, Satan!') Sometimes carried as part of a rosary or embedded in a scapular, it is also worn separately.

On the back of the medal is Saint Benedict holding a cross in his right hand, the Christian symbol of salvation, and on the left, his Rule for Monasteries. To Benedict's right, below the cross, is a poisoned cup, a reference to the legend that hostile monks attempted to poison him, and the cup containing poisoned wine shattered when the saint made the sign of the cross over it. To his left, below the rule, the raven carried off a loaf of poisoned bread. From this is derived the tradition that the medal protects against poisoning.

Above the cup and raven are the words Crux sancti patris Benedicti ('The Cross of [our] Holy Father Benedict'). Surrounding the figure of Saint Benedict are the words Eius in obitu nostro praesentia muniamur! ('May we be strengthened by his presence in the hour of our death'), since Benedictines regarded him as a particular patron of a happy death. Below the icon of St. Benedict, it is written 'EX SM Casino, MDCCCLXXX', and it means 'Found out from the holy Casino mountain in 1880.'

On the front is a cross containing the letters C S S M L - N D S M D, initials of the words Crux sacra sit mihi lux! Nunquam draco sit mihi dux! ('May the holy cross be my light! May the dragon never be my overlord!'). The large C S P B stand for Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti ('The Cross of [our] Holy Father Benedict'). Surrounding the back of the medal are the letters V R S N S M V - S M Q L I V B, in reference to Vade retro satana: Vade retro Satana! Numquam suade mihi vana! Sunt mala quae libas. Ipse venena bibas! ('Begone Satan! Never tempt me with your vanities! What you offer me is evil. Drink the poison yourself!') and finally, located at the top is the word PAX which means 'peace'.

Sur le revers de la médaille figure la croix dite de saint Benoît accompagnée de plusieurs séries de lettres :

PAX est parfois remplacé par IHS : Iesus Homo Salvator ou, de façon plus communément admise :

 Iesus, Hominum Salvator (« Jésus Sauveur des hommes »).

The exact time and date of the making of the first Saint Benedict Medal are not clear. The medal was originally a cross, dedicated to the devotion in honour of St. Benedict. At some point, medals were struck that bore the image of St. Benedict holding a cross aloft in his right hand and his Rule for Monasteries in the other hand. Then a sequence of capital letters was placed around the large figure of the cross moline on the reverse side of the medal. The meaning of what the letters signified was lost over time until around 1647, an old manuscript was discovered at the Benedictine St. Michael's Abbey in Metten. In the manuscript, written in 1415, was a picture depicting St. Benedict holding in one hand a staff which ends in a cross, and a scroll in the other. On the staff and scroll were written in full the words of which the mysterious letters were the initials, a Latin prayer of exorcism against Satan. The manuscript contains the exorcism formula Vade retro satana ('Step back, Satan'), and the letters were found to correspond to this phrase.

The exorcism prayer is found in an early thirteenth-century legend of the Devil's Bridge at Sens, wherein an architect sold his soul to the devil and then subsequently repented. M. le Curé of Sens, wearing his stole, exorcised the devil, driving him away with holy water and the words, which he made the penitent repeat.

Medals bearing the image of St. Benedict, a cross moline, and these letters began to be struck in Germany and soon spread over Europe. Vincent de Paul (†1660) seems to have known of it, for his Daughters of Charity have always worn it attached to their beads, and for many years it was only made, at least in France, for them. The medals were first approved by Benedict XIV on 23 December, 1741, and again on 12 March, 1742. The medal in its traditional design was in use for many decades and is still in use today.

In Gabriel Bucelin's 1679 Benedictus redivivus, he recounts several incidents in which St. Benedict's Medal was viewed as efficacious in addressing illness or some local calamity. In the 1743 Disquisitio sacra numismata, de origine quidditate, virtute, pioque usu Numismatum seu Crucularum S. Benedicti, Abbatis, Viennae Austriae, apud Leopoldum Kaliwoda, Abbot Löbl, of St. Margaret's Monastery of Prague, recommended recourse to the medal as a remedy against bleeding. Prosper Guéranger relates several incidents of religious conversions which he attributes to the intercession of St. Benedict through the pious use of the medal.

A Jubilee medal by the monk Desiderius Lenz, of the Beuron Art School, made for the 1400th anniversary of the birth of St. Benedict in 1880

The Jubilee medal was struck in 1880, in remembrance of the 1400th anniversary of St. Benedict’s birth. The initials of the Vade retro satana formula have been found on Saint Benedict Medals at least since 1780. The Jubilee medal continues to be the most popular design.

 Licence Creative Commons CC0 don universel au domaine publique

Placide du Mont-Cassin ou saint Placide (en latin : Placidus), saint de l'Église catholique, est un moine bénédictin, disciple de saint Benoît, qui a vécu au vie siècle.

Placide est né vers 515 dans une ancienne famille de Rome. Il fut confié tout jeune à saint Benoît, pour être formé à Subiaco. Il va dès lors partager la vie rigoureuse des moines. Il accompagna ensuite saint Benoît au Mont-Cassin, où il mourut en 541.

On raconte qu'à son arrivée à Subiaco, le jeune Placide, envoyé par Benoît chercher de l'eau, alla au lac pour en puiser mais commença à s'y noyer. Avertit à distance par une forte intuition, saint Benoît s'empressa de demander à son autre disciple saint Maur d'aller lui porter secours. Celui-ci s'élança alors au devant de l'enfant, réussit à comme marcher sur les eaux, et le sauva de la noyade.

Saint Placide est célébré le 5 octobre dans le calendrier de l'Église.