St. Benedict (480-547) lived in the sixth-century Italy when the great Roman Empire was in a state of chaos. Rome had fallen to the barbarians in 410 and war was a constant threat. During this turmoil the young Benedict left his native Nursia to attend school in Rome. However, disgusted with the paganism and immorality, the youth renounced the world and fled for a cave in Subiaco, some thirty miles west of Rome, and became a hermit.
At Subiaco, it did not take long for this holy man's reputation and the stories of his great miracles to spread through the land. Soon after, a group of monks arrived at his cave requesting Benedict to be their Abbot. However, frustrated with Benedict's strict way of life, the monks tried to poison him. Leaving these defiant monks behind, Benedict went on to establish twelve monasteries before founding the monastery of Monte Cassino where he would go on to write the Holy Rule which is still followed by monks throughout the world even to this day. It was there that Benedict would spend the rest of his earthly life. Supported by his Brothers, Benedict died standing with his hands raised in praise of God.