The patron saint of Europe, Saint Benedict of Nursia (c. 480-543) is known as the father of Western monasticism. The Rule of Saint Benedict, which he wrote to govern the community he created at Monte Cassino (in central Italy), has been adapted by almost every major Western monastic order. The monasteries that grew up through Benedict's influence guarded and perpetuated classical and Christian knowledge during the early medieval period commonly known as the Dark Ages, and became the center of liturgical life for their surrounding communities. Medieval agriculture, hospitals, and educational institutions had their roots in the Benedictine tradition.
This traditional novena to Saint Benedict places our own trials within the context of those that Benedict and his monks faced. As bad as things may seem today, we can see in Benedict an example of how to live a Christian life in an age that is hostile to Christianity. As the novena reminds us, living such a life begins by loving God and loving our neighbor, and helping those who are troubled and afflicted. When we follow Saint Benedict's example, we can be assured of his intercession for us in the trials of our own life.
While this novena is appropriate to pray at any time of the year, it is a good way to prepare for the Feast of Saint Benedict (July 11). Begin the novena on July 2 to end it on the eve of the Feast of Saint Benedict.
Novena to Saint Benedict
Glorious Saint Benedict, sublime model of virtue, pure vessel of God's grace! Behold me humbly kneeling at your feet. I implore you in your loving kindness to pray for me before the throne of God. To you I have recourse in the dangers that daily surround me. Shield me against my selfishness and my indifference to God and to my neighbor. Inspire me to imitate you in all things. May your blessing be with me always, so that I may see and serve Christ in others and work for His kingdom.
Graciously obtain for me from God those favors and graces which I need so much in the trials, miseries, and afflictions of life. Your heart was always full of love, compassion, and mercy toward those who were afflicted or troubled in any way. You never dismissed without consolation and assistance anyone who had recourse to you. I therefore invoke your powerful intercession, confident in the hope that you will hear my prayers and obtain for me the special grace and favor I earnestly implore. [Mention your request here.]
Help me, great Saint Benedict, to live and die as a faithful child of God, to run in the sweetness of His loving will, and to attain the eternal happiness of heaven. Amen.