St Benedict is the patron of Europe; born in Umbria about the year AD480 he is considered the father of Western monasticism. He studied in Rome and when he had completed his studies he sought a life of solitude in a cave at Subiaco. Soon a few disciples gathered round him and his life of solitude became a communal life.
Benedict founded a monastery at Monte Cassino which is still there today. It was destroyed during WW II but was completely rebuilt. Benedict wrote his famous Rule, (the Rule of Benedict) which has been the cornerstone of the lives of many monks for 1500 years. It is a masterpiece of Christian writing and is as relevant to life today as it was when first written down.
In the cave where Benedict lived, there is what is believed to be the only known portrait of St Francis. Seemingly St Francis visited the cave on pilgrimage and an artist drew his likeness on the wall.
Today we can also say to our beloved Holy Father, "Happy Feast day!"