As Christian educators we should have a particular devotion to the saint we celebrate on Monday. Benedict (480 – 550) has been renowned for several things. He is known as the Father of Western Monasticism. In more recent times he has been seen as the patron saint of Europe. But we owe him a great deal of gratitude because the order he founded has always made the education of the young their special vocation.
Benedict was educated in Rome, like many well to do young men of his day. But what he saw there upset him greatly – the general moral laxness and the jockeying for position and power. He left and for several years lived life as a hermit. Others came to join him and eventually he wrote a ‘Rule’ for their common life together. The Rule is a masterpiece of gentleness and common sense.
We live in a world that can be quite harsh and judgmental about young people. The media certainly demonises them. Benedict would have made a different judgement. And so must we. We are called to respect their inquiring minds and listen to their needs, and also to lead them – very gently – towards maturity and knowledge of Christ. May St Benedict pray for us.