In 2004, while on pilgrimage to Rome I visited the monastery at Subiaco, Italy, where St. Benedict spent years as a hermit before he went off to found his first monastery at Monte Casino. The cave where he lived was impressive and also houses for some reason a wall painting of St. Francis which is believed to be the only actual portrait of Francis. It was an impressive place.
Benedict wrote his famous Rule, the detailed directions for life in a monastery, which he applied at Monte Casino. His order grew into the Benedictines which is still one of the largest orders in the church. The rule is also observed by the Cistercians and other orders. It contains one great line about obedience..."no one in a monastery should do his own will." This line characterises all of monastic life and should be the foundation of all of Christian life...be obedient to the will of God as expressed by our superiors, be that the Pope, the catechism or our conscience.
Monte Cassino was destroyed in WWII and rebuilt exactly as it was. If you have never seen it look it up on the net. It is worth seeing.