Saturday, May 8, 2010

St. Benedict of Nursia (480 to 574)

When it came time for me to do the genealogy of my mother's family, she informed me that I wouldn't be able to get my grandfather's birth certificate or any other records because he was from Cassino, Italy which was destroyed during the Battle of Monte Cassino in WWII.
Allied air-raids mistakenly believed that Monte Cassino Monastery was a German stronghold. Instead women and children from Cassino were staying there. The monastery was later completely rebuilt.
This was always a sensitive topic at home. By the time I was able to visit Monte Cassino, in November 1991, my grandfather's cousin, Abbot Emeritus Martino Matronola, O.S.B., was 88-years-old. I took the train from Rome and then a bus to the monastery. They told me I couldn't see him because he could not have female visitors. But, I was invited to stay for vespers.
I did, although I was so disappointed that I couldn't meet my grandfather's last surviving cousin. He ended up dying in May 1994.
St. Benedict who was born in Nursia (Norcia), Italy in 480 founded Monte Cassino Monastery around 529. It had been a pagan site with a temple to Apollo.
St. Benedict was the twin brother of St. Scholastica and the founder of the Benedictine Order.
He died at the monastery in 574. Canonized: 1220. St. Benedict's feast day is July 11.

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