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The Life of St. Benedict by Gregory the Great - Translation and Commentary

Item Number: 21064

Catalog Code: 978-0-8146-3262-8

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Life of St. Benedict by Gregory the Great

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In his classic Second Book of Dialogues, Pope Gregory the Great lionizes Saint Benedict as hero and casts him predominantly in the role of miracle worker. Yet in his Rule, Benedict comes across more as a practical community organizer and premier spiritual father. In this volume, Terrence Kardong offers a fresh take on Gregory the Great's classic. He alternates between translated sections of the Dialogues and his own commentary. Crisp and direct, and infused with his wry and ever-present sense of humor, Kardong's writing is sure to build up the spiritual life of readers and, equally important, to make them love St. Benedict.

Terrence Kardong, OSB, is a monk of Assumption Abbey in Richardton, North Dakota. He is editor of American Benedictine Review and author of Benedict’s Rule and Day by Day with Saint Benedict, both published by Liturgical Press.

"In Terrence Kardong’s many contributions to the explication of and commentary on St. Benedict's Rule, we have always found the sharp and well worded wisdom that opens the Rule and the human heart to the truth of each other. That same sharp wisdom and clear perception of humanity is now brought to Gregory the Great’s life of St. Benedict. ‘Our contention throughout this commentary,’ Kardong says, ‘is that these stories are “true” even if they never happened.’ Kardong's commentary goes deeper than what the stories say to reveal Gregory's intent to bring the reader to love Benedict and Gregory's skill in shaping each narrative and the overall narrative to give the reader a sense of continuity. And there is large truth here—the truth of Christ, of Benedict, of human persons and humanity."
-Sister Shawn Carruth, OSB
"Entering into the spirit of the Dialogues, Fr. Terrence offers us a lucid translation and a sensible commentary that explores the meaning of this spiritual classic. His vast knowledge allows him to link the text both to the Scriptures and to the spiritual tradition. His typical enthusiasm underlines the importance of St. Benedict’s spiritual development. Finally Fr. Terrence’s clarity makes this work accessible to anyone interested in the spiritual life."
-Harry Hagan, OSB, Saint Meinrad Archabbey and School of Theology, Saint Meinrad, Indiana
"Terrence Kardong, OSB, has gifted us with a fresh new translation of and commentary on Gregory’s Life of Benedict as depicted in the Dialogues. The commentary is interspersed throughout the book, following sections he has just translated. The net effect of this methodology is to create a much more rounded, continuous biography, rather than simply proceeding from Gregory’s rather sketchy and sometimes dubious rendition. The author balances Gregory’s Benedict with what we know from current scholarship. Father Terrence, master of the anecdote, displays once again his uncanny ability to express the profound with elegant simplicity. He has been able in this book to interweave the credible from Gregory with the believable of Benedict, as he reveals himself in his own Rule. The result, as always from Terrence’s pen, is both readable and reliable, as well as entertaining and enjoyable."
-Fr. John Crean, OblSB, PhD, Coeditor of MAGISTRA: A Journal of Women’s Spirituality in History
"Fr. Terrence Kardong brings to his study of Pope Gregory's Life of Benedict the same critical eye and balanced judgment that he brings to the Rule of Benedict. His commentary and footnotes situate Gregory’s work in the context of early medieval hagiography while alerting the reader to the issues of contemporary research. Kardong presents a calm perspective on the debate about Gregory's authorship of Dialogues II. His commentary fills a gap in American Benedictine scholarship."
-Abbot Jerome Kodell, OSB, Subiaco Abbey, Subiaco, Arkansas

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St. Benedict of Nursia

St. Benedict of Nursia Feast Day:
Eastern Calendar - 03/14
Roman Rite Calendar - 07/11
Tridentine Calendar - 03/21

Patron Of: Homeless, Monastics, Monks, Poisoning, Speleologists, Farmers, Dying, Schoolchildren, Against Witchcraft, Civil Engineers, Kidney Disease, Gall Stones

Also known as

    * Benedict of Narsia
    * Benedict of Norsia
    * Benedetto da Norcia
    * Founder of Western Monasticism


    * 11 July (Latin Rite)
    * 21 March (Benedictine monks and nuns)
    * 14 March (Byzantine Rite)


    Born to the Roman nobility. Twin brother of Saint Scholastica. Studied in Rome, Italy, but was dismayed by the lack of discipline and the lackadasical attitude of his fellow students. Fled to the mountains near Subiaco, living as a hermit in a cave for three years; reported to have been fed by a raven. His virtues caused an abbey to request him to lead them. Founded the monastery at Monte Cassino, where he wrote the Rule of his order. His discipline was such that an attempt was made on his life; some monks tried by poison him, but he blessed the cup and rendered it harmless. He returned to his cave, but continued to attract followers, and eventually established twelve monasteries. Had the ability to read consciences, the gift of prophesy, and could forestall attacks of the devil. Destroyed pagan statues and altars, drove demons from groves sacred to pagans. At one point there were over 40,000 monasteries guided by the Benedictine Rule. A summation of the Rule: “Pray and work.”


    * c.480, Narsia, Umbria, Italy


    * 21 March 547 of a fever while in prayer at Monte Cassino, Italy
    * buried beneath the high altar there in the same tomb as Saint Scholastica


    * 1220 by Pope Honorius III


    * against erysipelas
    * against fever
    * against gall stones
    * against inflammatory diseases
    * against kidney disease
    * against nettle rash
    * against poison
    * against temptations
    * against witchcraft
    * agricultural workers
    * cavers
    * civil engineers
    * coppersmiths
    * dying people
    * Europe
    * farm workers
    * farmers
    * Heerdt, Germany
    * Italian architects
    * monks
    * Norcia, Italy
    * people in religious orders
    * school children
    * servants who have broken their master’s belongings
    * speliologists
    * spelunkers
    * students
    * Subiaco, Italy


    * bell
    * broken cup
    * broken cup and serpent representing poison
    * broken utensil
    * bush
    * crosier
    * man in a Benedictine cowl holding Benedict’s rule or a rod of discipline
    * raven


All information used with permission of the Patron Saint Index.

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