Benedict of Nursia was a devout Christian born circa March 2, 480 and died between 543 to 547. Spurred by what Benedict saw as increasing immorality of Roman life, he retreated to life as a monk in a cave near the town of Subiaco. His seriousness and zeal attracted followers and eventually spread. Eventually he established 12 communities of monks in Italy.
Benedict is most remembered, however, for a book that he wrote as a guide for monks and how they should live their lives called the Rule of Saint Benedict. The short book is 73 chapters long divided in to two main parts—how to live a life devoted to God and how to manage a monastery. Benedict even suggests that the day be divided into three equal parts; eight hours for sleeping, eight hours of manual work, and lastly, eight hours devoted to charitable works and reading sacred works. Eventually his book was used as a model for monastic life throughout Europe.
Benedict was canonized in 1220 in Rome by Pope Honorius III. St. Benedict is usually depicted in monk’s clothing and cowl holding a crosier or rod. St. Benedict is the Patron Saint of farm workers, carvers, civil engineers, coppersmiths, spelunkers, schoolchildren, and monks.