Feast Day: July 11
St. Benedict of Nursia (c. 480-543), was born to Roman nobility and is credited for founding Western monasticism. His list of patronages is quite extensive:
-the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest
-People in religious orders
-Servants who have broken their master’s belongings
His patronage against temptations is well-deserved and undoubtedly the inspiration behind the creation of the jubilee medal. First struck by Benedictine monks in 1880, the 1400th anniversary of St. Benedict’s birth, it has become one of the most popular Catholic sacramentals. Known for warding off evil spirits, when embedded within a crucifix, it is often used in exorcisms.
On the front of the two-sided medal is an image St. Benedict holding a cross in his right hand and Rule for Monasteries in his left. On a pedestal to his right is a poisoned cup that an enemy was said to have given him but shattered when he made the Sign of the Cross over the cup. On the pedestal to his left is a raven that carried away the poisoned loaf of bread a jealous enemy once sent to Benedict.
Above the cup and the raven are the Latin words: Crux s. patris Benedicti (The Cross of our holy father Benedict). On the margin of the medal, encircling the figure of Benedict, are the Latin words: Eius in obitu nostro praesentia muniamur! (May we be strengthened by his presence in the hour of our death!). Benedictines have always regarded St. Benedict as a special patron of a happy death. He himself died in the chapel at Montecassino while standing with his arms raised up to heaven, supported by the brothers of the monastery, shortly after receiving Holy Communion.
Below the image of St. Benedict we read ex SM Casino MDCCCLXXX (from holy Monte Cassino, 1880).
On the reverse side of the medal is a dominantly displayed cross around the arms of which are the initial letters of a rhythmic Latin prayer Crux sacra sit mihi lux! Nunquam draco sit mihi dux! (May the holy cross be my light! May the dragon never be my guide!).
In the angles of the cross, are the letters C S P B that stand for Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti (The cross of our holy father Benedict).
Above the cross is the word pax (peace), that has been a Benedictine motto for centuries. Around the margin of the back of the medal, the letters V R S N S M V – S M Q L I V B are the initial letters of a Latin prayer of exorcism against Satan: Vade retro Satana! Nunquam suade mihi vana! Sunt mala quae libas. Ipse venena bibas! (Begone Satan! Never tempt me with your vanities! What you offer me is evil. Drink the poison yourself!)
All types of St. Benedict medals, crucifixes, key chains, visor clips and other devotionals can be found at Paul & Peter’s Catholic Supply Co.