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BENEDICTINE


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BENEDICTINE


wliilst the Celtic monks from lona settled at Lindis- fame. whence the work of St. PauHnus in North- umbria was continued by St. Aidan, St. Cuthbert, and many others. In 716 England sent forth Win- frid, afterwards called Boniface, a Benedictine monk trained at Exeter, who preached the Faith in Fries- land. Alemannia, Thuringia, and Bavaria, and finally, being made Archbishop of Mentz (Mainz), became the Apostle of central Germany. At Fulda he placed a Bavarian convert named Sturm at the head of a monastery he founded there in 744, from which came many missionaries who carried the Gospel to Prussia and what is now Austria. From Corbie, in Picardy, one of the most famous monas- teries in France, St. Ansgar set out in 827 for Den- mark, Sweden, and Norway, in each of which coun- tries he founded many monasteries and firmly planted the Benedictine Rule. These in turn spread the Faith and monasticism through Iceland and Greenland. For a short time Friesland was the scene of the labours of St. Wilfrid during a tem- porary banisiiment from England in 678, and the work he began there was continued and extended to Holland by the English monks Willibrord and Swith- bert. Christianity was first preached in Bavaria by Eustace and Agilus, monks from Luxeuil, early in the .seventh century; their work was continued by St. Rupert, who foimded the monasterj' and see of Salzburg, and firmly estabhshed by St. Boniface about 739. So rapidly did the Faith spread in this country that between the years 740 and 780 no less than twenty-nine Benedictine abbeys were foundetl there.

.Another phase of Benedictine influence may be found in the work of those monks who, from the sixth to the twelfth century, so frequently acted as the chosen counsellors of kings, and whose wise advice and guidance had much to do with the political historj' of most of the countries of Europe during that period.

In more recent times the missionary spirit has manifested itself anew amongst the Benedictines. During the penal times the Catholic Church in England was kept alive in great measure by the Benedictine missioners from abroad, not a few of whom shed their blood for the Faith. Still more recently Austraha has been indebted to the order for both its Catholicity and its hierarchy. The English congregation supplied some of its earliest missionaries, as well as its first prelates, in the persons of Archbishop Folding, Archbishop Ullathorne, and others during the first half of the nineteenth century. Later on, the Spanish monks, DD. Serra and Salvado, arrived and successfully evangelized the western portion of the continent from New Nursia as a centre. Mention must also be made of the numerous missions amongst the North American Indians by the monks of the Swiss- American congregation from St. Meinrad's abbey, Indiana; and those of the American-Cassinese con- gregation in various parts of the United States, from St. Vincent's Arch-Abbey. BeattJ^ Pennsyl- vania. Apostolic work was also done by the EngUsh Fathers of the Cassinese P. O. congregation amongst the Hindus in Western Bengal, and amongst the Maoris in New Zealand; and French monks of the same congregation laboured in the Apostohc \'icariate of the Indian Territory, U. S. A., from the head- quarters at the Sacred Heart Abbey, Oklahoma. In Ceylon the Sylvestrine Benedictines have under- taken (1883) missionary work amongst the natives in the Diocese of Kandy, the bishop of which is a member of the order; and still more recently the congregation of St. Ottilien, expressly estabhshed to provide workers for the foreign mission field, has established missions amongst the native tribes of Central Africa, where the seeds of the Faith


have already been watered by the blood of its first martyrs.

(2) Civilizing Influence of the Order. — Christianity and ci\-ilization go hand in hand, and hence we naturally look to North-western Europe for the effects of the civilizing influences exerted by the Benedictine missionaries. St. Benedict liiraself began by converting and civilizing the barbarians who overran Italy in the sixth century, the best of whom came and learned the Gospel principles at Monte Cassino. PreNious to the institution of monasticism labour had been regarded as the symbol of slavery and serfdom, but St. Benedict and his followers taught in the West that les.sou of free labour which had first been inculcated by the fathers of the desert. Wherever the monks went, those who were not employed in preaching tilled the groimd; thus whilst some sowed in pagan souls the seeds of the Christian Faith, others transformed barren wastes and \irgin forests into fruitful fields and verdant meadows. This principle of labour was a powerful instrument in the hands of the monastic pioneers, for it attracted to tliem the common people who learned from the monasteries thus reared as from object lessons the secrets of organized work, agricidture. the arts and sciences, and the principles of true government. Neander (Eccl. Hist.) points out that the profits accruing from the labour of the monks were employed ungrudgingly for the relief of the distressed, and that in times of famine many thousands were saved from starvation by the charitable foresight of the monks. The accoimts of the beginnings of abbey after abbey present the same features with recurring regularity. Not only were the marshes drained, sterile plains rendered fertile, and wild beasts tameil or driven away, but the bandits and outlaws who infested many of the great highways and forests were either put to flight or converted from their e\-il ways by the industrious and unselfish monks. Around many of the greater monasteries towns grew up which have since become famous in liistorj'; Monte Cassino in Italy and Peterborough and St. Alban's in England are examples. Large-hearted abbots, eager to advance the interests of their poorer neighbours, often voluntarily expended considerable annual sums on the buikling and repairing of bridges, the making of roads, etc., and cverj-where exercised a benign influence directed only towards improving the social and material condition of the people amongst whom they found themselves. This spirit, so prevalent during the ages of faith, has been suc- cessfully emulated by the monks of later times, of which no more striking instances in our own day can be cited than the wonderful influence for good amongst the aboriginal inhabitants of Western Australia possessed by the Spanish Benedictines of New Nursia, and the great industrial and agricul- tural work done amongst the native tribes of South Africa by the Trappists at JIariannliill and their numerous mission stations in Natal.

(3) Educational Work and the Cultivation nf Litera- ture. — The work of education and the cultivation of literature have always been looked upon as belonging by right to the Benedictines. In the earliest days of the order it was the custom to receive cliildren in the monasteries that they might be educated b_v the monks. At first such children were always destined for the monastic state, and St. Benedict legislated in his Rule for their solemn dedication by their parents to the service of God. St. Placid and St. Maur are examples from St. Benedict's own day and amongst others may be instanced the Eng- hsh saint, Bede, who entered the monastery of Jarrow in liis seventh j-ear. The education of these cliildren was the germ out of which aftenvards developed the great monastic schools. Although St. Benedict urged upon his monks the duty of systematic read-