Saint Benedict is called the father of monasticism because he was the first to gather disciples together to form communities who pursued holiness by following a ‘rule’. Fifteen centuries ago this was a radical departure from the way things had been done. Today almost all of our monasteries and convents are fashioned after Saint Benedict’s model.
The Saint Benedict medal was made in 1880 to celebrate his 1400th anniversary. It is loaded with symbolism and quotes about events in Saint Benedict’s life including two attempts to poison him. Some of the contents of the medal specifically engage in battle with the devil. One section has a large cross with initials which stand for “May the holy cross be my light! May the dragon never be my guide!”, and the ring around the back of the medal contains the beginning of a Latin prayer of exorcism which translates to “Begone Satan! Never tempt me with your vanities! What you offer me is evil. Drink the poison yourself!” Saint Benedict’s feast day is July 11th.