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Much information about the Benedictine Order can be found on the internet.  What I hope to do is complement existing information by adding information from Abbot Gasquet's book English Monastic Life. Gasquet published the book through The Antiquaries Book series in 1904.  It is now out of print and not generally available.  There may be a number of factual errors in the text, or points on which historians or theologians do not agree.  You will also find Benedictine Links below.    Gasquet's text>>

Friars Benedictine
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       St. Benedict, justly called the Patriarch of Western Monachism, established his rule of life in Italy ; first at Subiaco and subsequently at Monte Cassino about A.D. 529.  The design of his code was, like every other rule of regular life, to enable men to reach the higher Christian ideals by the helps afforded them in a well-regulated monastery.  According to the saint's original conception, the houses were to be separate families independent of each other.  It was no part of his scheme o establish a corporation with branches in various localities and countries, or to found an "Order" in its modern sense.  By its own inherent excellence and because of the sound common-sense which pervades it, the Rule of St. Benedict at once began to take root in the monasteries of the West, till it quickly superseded any others then in existence. Owing to its broad and elastic character, and hardly less, probably, to the fact that adopting it did not imply the joining of any stereotyped form of Order, monasteries could, and in fact did, embrace this code without entirely breaking with their past traditions.  This, side by side in the same religious house, we find that the rule of St. Columba was observed with that of St. Benedict until the greater practical sense of the latter code superseded the more rigid legislation of the former.   Within a comparatively short time from the death of St. Benedict in A.D. 543, the Benedictine became the recognised form of Western regular life.  To this end the action of Pope St. Gregory the Great and his high approval of St. Benedict's Rule greatly conduced.  In his opinion it manifested no common wisdom in its provisions, which were dictated by a marvellous insight into human nature and by a knowledge of the best possible conditions for attaining the end of all monastic life, the perfect love of God and of man.  Whilst not in any way lax in its provisions, it did not prescribe an asceticism which could be practiced only by the few ; whist the most ample powers were given to the superior to adapt the regulation to all circumstance of time and places ; thus making it applicable to every form of the higher Christian life, from the secluded cloister to that for which St. Gregory specially used those trained under it : the evangelisation of far-distant countries.
       The connection between the Benedictines and England began with the mission of St. Augustine in A.D. 597.  The Monastery of Monte Cassino having been destroyed by the Lombards, toward the end of the sixth century, the monks took refuge in Rome, and were placed in the Lateran, and by St. Gregory in the church he founded the honour of St. Andrew, in his ancestral home on the Coelian Hill.  It was the prior of St. Andrew's whom he sent to convert England.  With the advent of the Scottish monks from Iona the system of St. Columba was for a time introduced into the North of England ; but here, as in the rest of Europe, it quickly gave place to the Benedictine code ; and practically during the whole Saxon period this was the only form of monastic life in England.

English Monastic Life by F.A. Gasquet.  (pages 213-217)

The Benedictine Rule is a book of rules or principles set down by St. Benedict that regulate how religious brothers and sisters should live together and conduct themselves as brethren in a monastery.  There were a number of different 'rules' established over the centuries, but the Benedictine Rule was the most enduring and familiar to the West.

Benedictine Abbeys in England (for more Benedictine Religious Houses, see the index page):
    Abbotsbury Abbey 
    Abingdon Abbey
    St. Alban’s (Also see info on shrines.)
    Athelney Abbey
    Bardney Abbey
    Bardsey Abbey
    Battle Abbey 
    St. Benet’s of Hulme Abbey  
    Burton-on-Trent, or Modwenstow Abbey
    Bury St. Edmunds Abbey
    Canterbury, St. Augustine’s Abbey
    Cerne Abbey  
    Chertsey Abbey

    Chester, St. Werburgh's

    Colchester, St. John’s Abbey
    Croyland, or Crowland Abbey
    St. Dogmael’s Abbey
    Evesham Abbey 
    Eynesham Abbey

    Faversham Abbey

    Glastonbury Abbey

    Gloucester, St. Peter’s Abbey

    Humberston, or Hunston Abbey

    Hyde, or Newminster, Winchester Abbey

    Malmesbury Abbey

    Milton, or Middleton Abbey

    Muchelney Abbey

    Pershore Abbey

    Peterborough Abbey

    Ramsey Abbey

    Reading Abbey

    Selby Abbey

    Sherborne Abbey
    Shrewsbury Abbey
    Spalding Abbey 
    Tavistock Abbey  
    Tewkesbury Abbey
    Thorney Abbey
    Walden Abbey 
    Westminster Abbey 
    Whitby Abbey
    Winchcombe, or Winchelcombe Abbey 
    Wymondham Abbey
    York, St. Mary’s Abbey
    Barking Abbey  Female House (Nuns)
    Malling Abbey
     Female House (Nuns) Kent.
    Romsey Abbey
     Female House (Nuns) Hants.
    Winchester, St. Mary’s Abbey
     Female House (Nuns) Hants.


Benedictine Links:

The Order of St. Benedict website.  You can also find a link to a translation of the Benedictine Rule, and information about St. Benedict on this site.

Another translation of the Rule, this one from 1949, from CCEL (Christian Classics Ethereal Library).

Snippets of the Rule from A.D. 530, courtesy of ORB.

Corrections, questions?
  email me

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