St. Benedict is pretty special to me for a few reasons.
First, we share a birthday. I have to admit that I was pretty disappointed when I first discovered this. My parents had given me an illustrated book of the “Lives of the Saints” to commemorate my Confirmation. As any nine-year-old would do, I immediately looked to see who the saint was for July 11, my birthday. Perhaps Elizabeth or Mary, Theresa or Christine (my confirmation name) would be my special saint. A lovely woman saint with a beautiful name—I had hoped.
Instead, I beheld an illustration of a man with a dark hood, a scary looking bird, some sort of walking cane and an unusual name that I had only associated with Benedict Arnold, a famous American traitor.
July 11, St. Benedict, Abbot, it said.
I had never heard of this saint and surely did not know what an Abbot was. Through the years, I returned to these pages about St. Benedict often, thinking that I should have some connection with this man, my patron saint.
Fast forward 26 years. I am married with a seven-year-old daughter, a high school teacher, and club sponsor. I live a full and busy life, but have a deep desire for silence and prayer. I respond to an advertisement in our local newspaper for a silent contemplative prayer retreat and discover an oasis of peace called the St. Benedict Center in Schuyler, Nebraska.
And then I remember St. Benedict. My saint. Continue reading “Happy Birthday, St. Benedict!”