Reflection on the Life of St. Benedict
by Sister Emily Meisel, OSB
We know St. Benedict primarily through reading the Rule he wrote for his monks. The only other source of information on the life of St. Benedict comes from Book Two of the DIALOGUES by Pope St. Gregory the Great, which was written in 593 about 50 years after the death of Benedict. St. Gregory’s chief reason for writing the DIALOGUES was to give encouragement to Christians at that time in history. Italy had suffered repeated invasions from Goths and Lombards sweeping down from northern Europe. Famine and plagues followed in the paths of these pillaging armies leaving the people confused and discouraged. St. Gregory wanted to remind the people that Italy was a land of great saints and that miracles did happen in their midst.
Of the four books of DIALOGUES, Book Two contains the story of the life of St. Benedict. St. Gregory used…