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This article is about a monastic order of the Catholic Church. Benedictines_sentence_0

For similar monastic orders of the Eastern Orthodox Church, see Order of Saint Benedict (Orthodox). Benedictines_sentence_1

For similar monastic orders of the Anglican Communion, see Order of St. Benedict (Anglican). Benedictines_sentence_2

For other uses, see Benedictine (disambiguation). Benedictines_sentence_3

"O.S.B." Benedictines_sentence_4

redirects here. Benedictines_sentence_5

For other uses, see OSB. Benedictines_sentence_6


Order of Saint BenedictBenedictines_table_caption_0
AbbreviationBenedictines_header_cell_0_0_0 OSBBenedictines_cell_0_0_1
MottoBenedictines_header_cell_0_1_0 Ora et Labora

(Latin for 'Pray and Work')Benedictines_cell_0_1_1

FormationBenedictines_header_cell_0_2_0 529; 1491 years ago (529)Benedictines_cell_0_2_1
FounderBenedictines_header_cell_0_3_0 Benedict of NursiaBenedictines_cell_0_3_1
Founded atBenedictines_header_cell_0_4_0 Subiaco AbbeyBenedictines_cell_0_4_1
TypeBenedictines_header_cell_0_5_0 Catholic religious orderBenedictines_cell_0_5_1
HeadquartersBenedictines_header_cell_0_6_0 Church of Sant'Anselmo all'Aventino, RomeBenedictines_cell_0_6_1
Abbot PrimateBenedictines_header_cell_0_7_0 Gregory PolanBenedictines_cell_0_7_1
Main organBenedictines_header_cell_0_8_0 Benedictine ConfederationBenedictines_cell_0_8_1
Parent organizationBenedictines_header_cell_0_9_0 Catholic ChurchBenedictines_cell_0_9_1
WebsiteBenedictines_header_cell_0_10_0 Benedictines_cell_0_10_1

The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict (Latin: Ordo Sancti Benedicti, abbreviated as OSB), are a monastic religious order of the Catholic Church following the Rule of Saint Benedict. Benedictines_sentence_7

They are also sometimes called the Black Monks, in reference to the colour of their religious habits. Benedictines_sentence_8

They were founded by Saint Benedict of Nursia, a 6th-century monk who laid the foundations of Benedictine monasticism through the formulation of his Rule of Saint Benedict. Benedictines_sentence_9

Despite being called an order, the Benedictines do not operate under a single hierarchy but are instead organised as a collection of autonomous monasteries; they do not have a superior general or motherhouse with universal jurisdiction. Benedictines_sentence_10

The order is represented internationally by the Benedictine Confederation, an organisation set up in 1893 to represent the order's shared interests. Benedictines_sentence_11

Historical development Benedictines_section_0

Main article: Benedict of Nursia Benedictines_sentence_12

The monastery at Subiaco in Italy, established by Saint Benedict of Nursia c. 529, was the first of the dozen monasteries he founded. Benedictines_sentence_13

He later founded the Abbey of Monte Cassino. Benedictines_sentence_14

There is no evidence, however, that he intended to found an order and the Rule of Saint Benedict presupposes the autonomy of each community. Benedictines_sentence_15

When Monte Cassino was sacked by the Lombards about the year 580, the monks fled to Rome, and it seems probable that this constituted an important factor in the diffusion of a knowledge of Benedictine monasticism. Benedictines_sentence_16

It was from the monastery of St. Andrew in Rome that Augustine, the prior, and his forty companions set forth in 595 on their mission for the evangelization of England. Benedictines_sentence_17

At various stopping places during the journey, the monks left behind them traditions concerning their rule and form of life, and probably also some copies of the Rule. Benedictines_sentence_18

Lérins Abbey, for instance, founded by Honoratus in 375, probably received its first knowledge of the Benedictine Rule from the visit of St. Augustine and his companions in 596. Benedictines_sentence_19

Gregory of Tours says that at Ainay Abbey, in the sixth century, the monks "followed the rules of Basil, Cassian, Caesarius, and other fathers, taking and using whatever seemed proper to the conditions of time and place", and doubtless the same liberty was taken with the Benedictine Rule when it reached them. Benedictines_sentence_20

In Gaul and Switzerland, it supplemented the much stricter Irish or Celtic Rule introduced by Columbanus and others. Benedictines_sentence_21

In many monasteries it eventually entirely displaced the earlier codes. Benedictines_sentence_22

By the ninth century, however, the Benedictine had become the standard form of monastic life throughout the whole of Western Europe, excepting Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, where the Celtic observance still prevailed for another century or two. Benedictines_sentence_23

Largely through the work of Benedict of Aniane, it became the rule of choice for monasteries throughout the Carolingian empire. Benedictines_sentence_24

Monastic scriptoria flourished from the ninth through the twelfth centuries. Benedictines_sentence_25

Sacred Scripture was always at the heart of every monastic scriptorium. Benedictines_sentence_26

As a general rule those of the monks who possessed skill as writers made this their chief, if not their sole active work. Benedictines_sentence_27

An anonymous writer of the ninth or tenth century speaks of six hours a day as the usual task of a scribe, which would absorb almost all the time available for active work in the day of a medieval monk. Benedictines_sentence_28

In the Middle Ages monasteries were often founded by the nobility. Benedictines_sentence_29

Cluny Abbey was founded by William I, Duke of Aquitaine in 910. Benedictines_sentence_30

The abbey was noted for its strict adherence to the Rule of St. Benedict. Benedictines_sentence_31

The abbot of Cluny was the superior of all the daughter houses, through appointed priors. Benedictines_sentence_32

One of the earliest reforms of Benedictine practice was that initiated in 980 by Romuald, who founded the Camaldolese community. Benedictines_sentence_33

The dominance of the Benedictine monastic way of life began to decline towards the end of the twelfth century, which saw the rise of the Franciscans and Dominicans. Benedictines_sentence_34

Benedictines took a fourth vow of "stability", which professed loyalty to a particular foundation. Benedictines_sentence_35

Not being bound by location, the mendicants were better able to respond to an increasingly "urban" environment. Benedictines_sentence_36

This decline was further exacerbated by the practice of appointing a commendatory abbot, a lay person, appointed by a noble to oversee and to protect the goods of the monastery. Benedictines_sentence_37

Often, however, this resulted in the appropriation of the assets of monasteries at the expense of the community which they were intended to support. Benedictines_sentence_38

England Benedictines_section_1

The English Benedictine Congregation is the oldest of the nineteen Benedictine congregations. Benedictines_sentence_39

Augustine of Canterbury and his monks established the first English Benedictine monastery at Canterbury soon after their arrival in 597. Benedictines_sentence_40

Other foundations quickly followed. Benedictines_sentence_41

Through the influence of Wilfrid, Benedict Biscop, and Dunstan, the Benedictine Rule spread with extraordinary rapidity, and in the North it was adopted in most of the monasteries that had been founded by the Celtic missionaries from Iona. Benedictines_sentence_42

Many of the episcopal sees of England were founded and governed by the Benedictines, and no fewer than nine of the old cathedrals were served by the black monks of the priories attached to them. Benedictines_sentence_43

Monasteries served as hospitals and places of refuge for the weak and homeless. Benedictines_sentence_44

The monks studied the healing properties of plants and minerals to alleviate the sufferings of the sick. Benedictines_sentence_45

Germany was evangelized by English Benedictines. Benedictines_sentence_46

Willibrord and Boniface preached there in the seventh and eighth centuries and founded several abbeys. Benedictines_sentence_47

In the English Reformation, all monasteries were dissolved and their lands confiscated by the Crown, forcing their Catholic members to flee into exile on the Continent. Benedictines_sentence_48

During the 19th century they were able to return to England, including to Selby Abbey in Yorkshire, one of the few great monastic churches to survive the Dissolution. Benedictines_sentence_49

St. Benedictines_sentence_50 Mildred's Priory, on the Isle of Thanet, Kent, was built in 1027 on the site of an abbey founded in 670 by the daughter of the first Christian King of Kent. Benedictines_sentence_51

Currently the priory is home to a community of Benedictine nuns. Benedictines_sentence_52

Five of the most notable English abbeys are the Basilica of St Gregory the Great at Downside, commonly known as Downside Abbey, The Abbey of St Edmund, King and Martyr commonly known as Douai Abbey in Upper Woolhampton, Reading, Berkshire, Ealing Abbey in Ealing, West London, and Worth Abbey. Benedictines_sentence_53

Prinknash Abbey, used by Henry VIII as a hunting lodge, was officially returned to the Benedictines four hundred years later, in 1928. Benedictines_sentence_54

During the next few years, so-called Prinknash Park was used as a home until it was returned to the order. Benedictines_sentence_55

St. Benedictines_sentence_56 Lawrence's Abbey in Ampleforth, Yorkshire was founded in 1802. Benedictines_sentence_57

In 1955, Ampleforth set up a daughter house, a priory at St. Louis, Missouri which became independent in 1973 and became Saint Louis Abbey in its own right in 1989. Benedictines_sentence_58

As of 2015, the English Congregation consists of three abbeys of nuns and ten abbeys of monks. Benedictines_sentence_59

Members of the congregation are found in England, Wales, the United States of America, Peru and Zimbabwe. Benedictines_sentence_60

In England there are also houses of the Subiaco Cassinese Congregation: Farnborough, Prinknash, and Chilworth: the Solesmes Congregation, Quarr and St Cecilia's on the Isle of Wight, as well as a diocesan monastery following the Rule of St Benedict: The . Benedictines_sentence_61

Since the Oxford Movement, there has also been a modest flourishing of Benedictine monasticism in the Anglican Church and Protestant Churches. Benedictines_sentence_62

Anglican Benedictine Abbots are invited guests of the Benedictine Abbot Primate in Rome at Abbatial gatherings at Sant'Anselmo. Benedictines_sentence_63

There are an estimated 2,400 celibate Anglican Religious (1,080 men and 1,320 women) in the Anglican Communion as a whole, some of whom have adopted the Rule of St. Benedict. Benedictines_sentence_64

In 1168 local Benedictine monks instigated the anti-semitic blood libel of Harold of Gloucester as a template for explaining later deaths. Benedictines_sentence_65

According to historian Joe Hillaby, the Benedictine blood libel of Harold was crucially important because for the first time an unexplained child death occurring near the Easter festival was arbitrarily linked to Jews in the vicinity by local Christian churchmen: "they established a pattern quickly taken up elsewhere. Benedictines_sentence_66

Within three years the first ritual murder charge was made in France." Benedictines_sentence_67

Monastic Libraries in England Benedictines_section_2

The forty-eighth rule of Saint Benedict prescribes extensive and habitual "holy reading" for the brethren. Benedictines_sentence_68

Three primary types of reading were done by the monks during this time. Benedictines_sentence_69

Monks would read privately during their personal time, as well as publicly during services and at meal times. Benedictines_sentence_70

In addition to these three mentioned in the Rule, monks would also read in the infirmary. Benedictines_sentence_71

Monasteries were thriving centers of education, with monks and nuns actively encouraged to learn and pray according to the law of St Benedict of Nursia, the collection of functional and religious guidelines advised monks on how they ought to go. Benedictines_sentence_72

Part of this law offered guidelines on understanding. Benedictines_sentence_73

Section 38 states that ‘these brothers’ meals should usually be accompanied by reading, and that they were to feed and drink at silence while one being said loudly. Benedictines_sentence_74

Although somewhat extreme at times, it was probably necessary in order for them to gain the discipline needed to copy such lengthy texts. Benedictines_sentence_75

An anonymous writer of the 9th or 10th century speaks of six hours a day as the usual task of a scribe, which would absorb almost all the time available for active work in the day of a medieval monk. Benedictines_sentence_76

For instance, copying the Bible would typically take up to 15 months to complete. Benedictines_sentence_77

However, Benedictine monks were disallowed worldly possessions, thus necessitating the preservation and collection of sacred texts in monastic libraries for communal use. Benedictines_sentence_78

For the sake of convenience, the books in the monastery were housed in a few different places, namely the sacristy, which contained books for the choir and other liturgical books, the rectory, which housed books for public reading such as sermons and lives of the saints, and the library, which contained the largest collection of books and was typically in the cloister. Benedictines_sentence_79

The first record of a monastic library in England is in Canterbury. Benedictines_sentence_80

To assist with Augustine of Canterbury's English mission, Pope Gregory the Great gave him nine books which included the Gregorian Bible in two volumes, the Psalter of Augustine, two copies of the Gospels, two martyrologies, an Exposition of the Gospels and Epistles, and a Psalter. Benedictines_sentence_81

Theodore of Tarsus brought Greek books to Canterbury more than seventy years later, when he founded a school for the study of Greek. Benedictines_sentence_82

France Benedictines_section_3

Monasteries were among the institutions of the Catholic Church swept away during the French Revolution. Benedictines_sentence_83

Monasteries were again allowed to form in the 19th century under the Bourbon Restoration. Benedictines_sentence_84

Later that century, under the Third French Republic, laws were enacted preventing religious teaching. Benedictines_sentence_85

The original intent was to allow secular schools. Benedictines_sentence_86

Thus in 1880 and 1882, Benedictine teaching monks were effectively exiled; this was not completed until 1901. Benedictines_sentence_87

Germany Benedictines_section_4

Saint Blaise Abbey in the Black Forest of Baden-Württemberg is believed to have been founded around the latter part of the tenth century. Benedictines_sentence_88

Other houses either reformed by, or founded as priories of, St. Blasien were: Muri Abbey (1082), Ochsenhausen Abbey (1093), Göttweig Abbey (1094), Stein am Rhein Abbey (before 1123) and Prüm Abbey (1132). Benedictines_sentence_89

It also had significant influence on the abbeys of Alpirsbach (1099), Ettenheimmünster (1124) and Sulzburg (ca. 1125), and the priories of Weitenau (now part of Steinen, ca. 1100), Bürgel (before 1130) and Sitzenkirch (ca. 1130). Benedictines_sentence_90

Switzerland Benedictines_section_5

The abbey of Our Lady of the Angels was founded in 1120. Benedictines_sentence_91

United States Benedictines_section_6

The first Benedictine to live in the United States was Pierre-Joseph Didier. Benedictines_sentence_92

He came to the United States in 1790 from Paris and served in the Ohio and St. Louis areas until his death. Benedictines_sentence_93

The first actual Benedictine monastery founded was Saint Vincent Archabbey, located in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Benedictines_sentence_94

It was founded in 1832 by Boniface Wimmer, a German monk, who sought to serve German immigrants in America. Benedictines_sentence_95

In 1856, Wimmer started to lay the foundations for St. Benedictines_sentence_96 John's Abbey in Minnesota. Benedictines_sentence_97

In 1876, Father Herman Wolfe, of Saint Vincent Archabbey established Belmont Abbey in North Carolina. Benedictines_sentence_98

By the time of his death in 1887, Wimmer had sent Benedictine monks to Kansas, New Jersey, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Illinois, and Colorado. Benedictines_sentence_99

Wimmer also asked for Benedictine sisters to be sent to America by St. Walburg Convent in Eichstätt, Bavaria. Benedictines_sentence_100

In 1852, Sister Benedicta Riepp and two other sisters founded St. Benedictines_sentence_101 Marys, Pennsylvania. Benedictines_sentence_102

Soon they would send sisters to Michigan, New Jersey, and Minnesota. Benedictines_sentence_103

By 1854, Swiss monks began to arrive and founded St. Benedictines_sentence_104 Meinrad Abbey in Indiana, and they soon spread to Arkansas and Louisiana. Benedictines_sentence_105

They were soon followed by Swiss sisters. Benedictines_sentence_106

There are now over 100 Benedictine houses across America. Benedictines_sentence_107

Most Benedictine houses are part of one of four large Congregations: American-Cassinese, Swiss-American, St. Scholastica, and St. Benedict. Benedictines_sentence_108

The congregations mostly are made up of monasteries that share the same lineage. Benedictines_sentence_109

For instance the American-Cassinese congregation included the 22 monasteries that descended from Boniface Wimmer. Benedictines_sentence_110

Benedictine vow and life Benedictines_section_7

Main article: Rule of Saint Benedict Benedictines_sentence_111

The sense of community was a defining characteristic of the order since the beginning. Benedictines_sentence_112

Section 17 in chapter 58 of the Rule of Saint Benedict states the solemn promise candidates for reception into a Benedictine community are required to make: a promise of stability (i.e. to remain in the same community), conversatio morum (an idiomatic Latin phrase suggesting "conversion of manners"; see below) and obedience to the community's superior. Benedictines_sentence_113

This solemn commitment tends to be referred to as the "Benedictine vow" and is the Benedictine antecedent and equivalent of the evangelical counsels professed by candidates for reception into a religious order. Benedictines_sentence_114

Much scholarship over the last fifty years has been dedicated to the translation and interpretation of "conversatio morum". Benedictines_sentence_115

The older translation "conversion of life" has generally been replaced with phrases such as "[conversion to] a monastic manner of life", drawing from the Vulgate's use of conversatio as a translation of "citizenship" or "homeland" in Philippians 3:20. Benedictines_sentence_116

Some scholars have claimed that the vow formula of the Rule is best translated as "to live in this place as a monk, in obedience to its rule and abbot." Benedictines_sentence_117

Benedictine abbots and abbesses have full jurisdiction of their abbey and thus absolute authority over the monks or nuns who are resident. Benedictines_sentence_118

This authority includes the power to assign duties, to decide which books may or may not be read, to regulate comings and goings, and to punish and to excommunicate, in the sense of an enforced isolation from the monastic community. Benedictines_sentence_119

A tight communal timetable – the horarium – is meant to ensure that the time given by God is not wasted but used in God's service, whether for prayer, work, meals, spiritual reading or sleep. Benedictines_sentence_120

Although Benedictines do not take a vow of silence, hours of strict silence are set, and at other times silence is maintained as much as is practically possible. Benedictines_sentence_121

Social conversations tend to be limited to communal recreation times. Benedictines_sentence_122

But such details, like the many other details of the daily routine of a Benedictine house that the Rule of St Benedict leaves to the discretion of the superior, are set out in its 'customary'. Benedictines_sentence_123

A ' customary' is the code adopted by a particular Benedictine house, adapting the Rule to local conditions. Benedictines_sentence_124

In the Roman Catholic Church, according to the norms of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, a Benedictine abbey is a "religious institute" and its members are therefore members of the consecrated life. Benedictines_sentence_125

While Canon Law 588 §1 explains that Benedictine monks are "neither clerical nor lay", they can, however, be ordained. Benedictines_sentence_126

Some monasteries adopt a more active ministry in living the monastic life, running schools or parishes; others are more focused on contemplation, with more of an emphasis on prayer and work within the confines of the cloister. Benedictines_sentence_127

Organization Benedictines_section_8

Benedictine monasticism is fundamentally different from other Western religious orders insofar as its individual communities are not part of a religious order with "Generalates" and "Superiors General". Benedictines_sentence_128

Each Benedictine house is independent and governed by an abbot. Benedictines_sentence_129

In modern times, the various groups of autonomous houses (national, reform, etc.) have formed themselves loosely into congregations (for example, Cassinese, English, Solesmes, Subiaco, Camaldolese, Sylvestrines). Benedictines_sentence_130

These, in turn, are represented in the Benedictine Confederation that came into existence through Pope Leo XIII's Apostolic Brief "Summum semper" on 12 July 1893. Benedictines_sentence_131

This organization facilitates dialogue of Benedictine communities with each other and the relationship between Benedictine communities and other religious orders and the church at large. Benedictines_sentence_132

The Abbot Primate resides at the Monastery of Sant’ Anselmo in Rome. Benedictines_sentence_133

In 1313 Bernardo Tolomei established the Order of Our Lady of Mount Olivet. Benedictines_sentence_134

The community adopted the Rule of St. Benedict and received canonical approval in 1344. Benedictines_sentence_135

The Olivetans are part of the Benedictine Confederation. Benedictines_sentence_136

Other orders Benedictines_section_9

The Rule of Saint Benedict is also used by a number of religious orders that began as reforms of the Benedictine tradition such as the Cistercians and Trappists. Benedictines_sentence_137

These groups are separate congregations and not members of the Benedictine Confederation. Benedictines_sentence_138

Although Benedictines are traditionally Catholic, there are also some communities that claim adherence to the Rule of Saint Benedict within the Anglican Communion, Eastern Orthodox Church, and Lutheran Church. Benedictines_sentence_139

Notable Benedictines Benedictines_section_10

Saints and Blesseds Benedictines_section_11

Monks Benedictines_section_12

Popes Benedictines_section_13

Founders of abbeys and congregations and prominent reformers Benedictines_section_14

Scholars, historians, and spiritual writers Benedictines_section_15

Maurists Benedictines_section_16

Bishops and martyrs Benedictines_section_17

Twentieth century Benedictines_section_18

Nuns Benedictines_section_19

Oblates Benedictines_section_20

Benedictine Oblates endeavor to embrace the spirit of the Benedictine vow in their own life in the world. Benedictines_sentence_140

Oblates are affiliated with a particular monastery. Benedictines_sentence_141

See also Benedictines_section_21


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