The third episode of EWTN’s Major Religious Orders of Men aired this week. Fr. Charles Connor, the excellent host of the new series, spoke on the Benedictines and will continue that focus in the fourth episode.
During the third episode, Fr. Connor gave the following summary of how the Benedictines had progressed from their beginning in about 530 AD with St. Benedict and the founding of Monte Cassino abbey about 70 miles southeast of Rome.
Here is the Benedictine Order, by the numbers, at the start of the 1300s (14th century):
The Benedictines had 37,000 monasteries in Europe. (And the population of Europe was about 25% of what it is today.)
The Benedictines had monasteries in virtually every area of Europe including Iceland and Benedictine monks had missionary outreaches to Greenland and its Eskimos.
And in the history of the Benedictine order to the beginning of the 1300s, the Benedictines had given the Church and Europe:
1,500 canonized saints
One of the most surprising effects I have experienced after becoming a Benedictine oblate is a very different view of Europe and its history before 1500 AD.
The picture in this blog is by Moguntiner