What Did St. Benedict and His Monks Do All Day?

July 11 is the feast of St. Benedict, one of the most influential saints in the history of Christianity. Disillusioned with the decadence he observed in fifth-century Rome, Benedict fled to the wilderness and ended up founding the Western monastic tradition. St. Benedict is the father of the many monks (and nuns) who revolutionized the Church and the world in Europe and far beyond, from the early middle ages to the present day.

But what did medieval monks actually do all day? What did a life of prayer and work—ora et labora in Latin—look like? How did monks and nuns create centers of spiritual, educational, charitable, and commercial productivity? Find out in the video below, which is an excerpt from an episode on Catholic monasticism fromOne Whirling Adventure: A Year of Catholic People, Places, and Things. Most of us won't become monastics, but we can all learn from the prayerfulness and diligence of St. Benedict and his many sons and daughters.

Sancte Benedicte, ora pro nobis!

— Cory Lakatos, LANE Director of Communications