Daniel Stewart writes here very well about St Benedict–who’s feast day we celebrate today.

Today, monasticism is usually seen as an archaic practice of insulation and irrelevance and is portrayed as quaint or even silly. Inside our fast-paced culture of connectivity and entertainment, it can be difficult to imagine the cloistered life as vibrant and significant. This is why it might sound odd to us to hear Pope Benedictdescribe the Patron of his Pontificate, St. Benedict of Nursia, as a “luminous star” pointing the way out of the “black night of history” that followed shortly after the fall of the Roman Empire. Pope Benedict was actually drawing on a biography written by St. Gregory the Great only a few decades after St. Benedict’s death. Even so, how could a star shine when locked away in an abbey?

Pope Benedict explains that part of St. Benedict’s illumination in the world couldn’t even be seen yet by St. Gregory. As one of the most important figures in early monasticism, St. Benedict’s life and work, the Pope says, “had a fundamental influence on the development of European civilization and culture.” This is due to St. Benedict’s founding of monasteries near Rome and his Rule for monastic living, a document which still governs monks and nuns all over the world.

Read Daniel’s whole post here.