Friday, April 4, 2014

St. Benedict the Moor

Happy feast of St. Benedict the Moor (a.k.a. the African or the Black)!

Today is the feast of St. Benedict the Moor.  I don't think I have read about many ex-slave saints.  There is a movie about Bakhita, but I think this is an area in which I should expand my knowledge.  Saints of European lineage are somewhat commonplace, but those from beyond are not.

St. Benedict the Moor was born a black slave in Italy (Moor is from the word black in Italian).  He was freed because of his parent's loyalty and good work.  He became a hermit at Montepellegrino and became their superior. This group of recluses were disbanded by Pope Pius IV, so Benedict joined the Franciscans as a lay brother.  He was named  as superior of this monastery as well, this was huge, you must remember he was an ex-slave and illiterate.  He was known for his holiness and his miracles.  

Ok, so this wasn't enough for me, so I went looking deeper.  I looked into his miracles, and I had to share!  When he prayed he was often shining with a celestial light.  Even better than this, and I must admit, the part to which I wish I was blessed--he was employed as a cook in an abbey where it was noted that ANGELS, yes ANGELS were often witnessed helping him cook!  As a bonus to this, was the fact that the food never seemed to run out, it multiplied miraculously in his hands!  

I am so happy to have learned about St. Benedict the Moor.  He's pretty cool and a fun change to the saints I have been reading about.  He didn't grow up in a noble family, nope, he was ordinary and not just ordinary, but a slave.  He was a hermit (of which I know I would not be a success, I need people and conversation).  Then, I'm not sure why-but would love to know, his hermitage was disbanded.  Was this commonplace?
Was this across the board, all hermitages?  Then, how do you move on from that?  I, in my pride, would probably say-- Well, maybe this life isn't for me, the Pope thinks I'm not doing the right thing.  Done!  St. Benedict, I'm assuming in his saintly humility, just went on with life and found the next place in which he could serve God.  (I'm telling you, there are so many reasons God will not choose me to be among his saints.  Humility is one of them.)  He was then blessed with being superior of the monastery he moved to and blessed with these fun and amazing miracles.  I must say Lord, if you would like to bless me with angels in my kitchen to help with cooking or the multiplying of food, I will gladly take it!

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