Seventh of the online series: Saints, Scholars and Spiritual Masters
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The seventh talk of Saints, Scholars and Spiritual Masters turns to the “Father of Western Monasticism” and his Rule of life, which still guides religious life around the world 1,500 years later. Benedict fled Rome, with the degenerate and empty lifestyle that he found amongst his fellow students, to become a hermit in the hills outside the city. His saintliness soon attracted diverse followers, and set him on the path of establishing monastic communities and writing a Rule. Though these were not primarily centres of learning, Benedictine monasteries, and others following their example, became the repositories of learning and culture. Europe thus owes not only its monastic tradition to Benedict, but also the continuity of its development through the medieval era.
Father Cassian Folsom, O.S.B., is the founding prior of the Monastery of San Benedetto, located in Norcia, Italy, the birthplace of Saint Benedict. He was born in Massachusetts in 1955, and has been a monk since 1979 and a priest since 1984. Fr. Cassian studied music before joining the monastic community of Saint Meinrad in 1974. He has served as the pro-president of the Pontifical Liturgical Institute at Sant’ Anselmo from 1997 to 2000. He founded his monastic community in Rome in 1998 and transferred it to Norcia in the year 2000. Father Cassian has been a consulter to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments since 2010, and is the author of numerous studies on Roman Catholic liturgy.