National Geographic : 1952 Jan
V National Geograpll c Society 95 National Gallery of Art (Kress Collection) UNKNOWN ARTIST (Late 15th Century), French * A Miracle of St. Benedict Born in Norcia, young Benedict studied in Rome, but, shocked by urban corruption, retreated to the mountains of Subiaco. There he spent three years of solitary prayer in a cave. As word of Benedict's austerity and wisdom spread, disciples gathered around him. To bring order to his new com munity, lie organized 12 monasteries. Catholicism's famed Benedictine Order dates from that act. Later St. Benedict moved to Monte Cassino and established the mountaintop abbey which served as a lighthouse of knowledge during the Middle Ages. Allied artillery crushed the abbey during World War II. This painting, believed to have originated in the studio of Simon Marmion, records one of Benedict's holy deeds. While praying in his cell (left), he saw a vision of his disciple, St. Placidus, who, while drawing water, had fallen into a lake. Benedict sent St. Maurus to the rescue. Here Maurus, walking on the water as if on solid ground, pulls Placidus to safety. A. D. 545. St. Benedict foresaw his own death of fever. Six days before the event, he ordered his grave to be opened. After being carried to his chapel, he died in prayer.