The Order of Saint Benedict (in Latin, Ordo Sancti Benedicti, abbreviation OSB) emerged in Italy at the end of the Roman Empire when Italy had been devastated by barbarian invasions. The establishment of the OSB during the Middle Ages was a powerful sign from God for restoring civilization and establishing what would later be the Papal States.
São Bento, the future St. Benedict, was born in 480 in Nursia, a small town near the Apennine Mountains. He was the twin brother of Santa Scholastica, who herself would devote her life to God. At seventeen, his parents sent him to finish his studies in Rome, the heart of the decaying Roman Empire. The dry study of rhetoric did not satisfy his desire to surrender his life to God. He was motivated to learn divine wisdom in an environment most suitable to him: in silence, prayer and work.
From Rome, Benedict of Nursia traveled to Subiaco to live like a hermit, as the famous Desert Fathers did. He spent his time in continual prayer, penance, and fasting. The sanctity and rigor of his life soon made him known throughout the region of Subiaco. People came to him for advice or to hear him speak about God, which he did with profound wisdom.
By his example, it was not long before many men seeking a similar life sought a vocation. Young and old alike turned to him, seeking recollection and prayer. A rule was needed and followed, giving continuity to the spirit started in his home in Nursia.
Different rules, at least oral, already existed, such as the Augustinian Rule. Pope St. Gregory the Great would later comment on what made the Rule of Saint Benedict unique; the close union between the spiritual life and Sacred Scripture. Other religious orders would eventually adopt the spirit of the Rule (Franciscans, Trappists, Dominicans, Jesuits, and even the Carmelites in their reforms.).
During his life, the devil would put every effort into ending the Order. Many mishaps and traps; conflicts in the community; expulsion of the founder; attempted poisoning of St. Benedict, and various other events. However, such evil is permitted as it will always result in a greater good, the Glory of God. The motto adopted by the Benedictine Order reflects this spirit: Ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus, that in all things God may be glorified. The first Benedictine monastery was just the beginning of something miraculous: quickly, following the death of St. Benedict, hundreds of religious houses spread throughout Christendom. Every few kilometers, a Christian would find a monastery using the Rule.
St. Benedict gave his soul to God on March 21, 547, shortly after receiving Holy Communion, standing in the oratory, supported by two monks. To this day, thousands of monks and nuns still live by the Rule of St. Benedict. Thus, it will be until the end of time, according to the promise given by Our Lord Jesus Christ!