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The Benedictine, with its later developments in Norman times of Augustine and Cluniac orders, was the first religious order introduced into this country. It was instituted in Italy early in the sixth century by St. Benedict of Nursia. Many monasteries established before the Conquest came under its sway, and were, centuries later, after the Dissolution, converted into cathedral churches.

But he leaned too far back for human nature in the West, and the conclusion was forced upon him that Benedict of Nursia had formulated a set of rules as strict as could be enforced among the Western monks. Accordingly he directed his efforts to secure a faithful observance of the original Benedictine rules, adding, however, a number of rigid and burdensome regulations.

So saying, the abbot seated himself on the stool, and gazed at Basil with a smile of infinite benevolence. 'Your face, he continued, 'speaks to me of a time very far away. I see in it the presentment of your father's father, with whom, when he was much of your age, I often talked. His mother had a villa at Nursia, the home of my youth.

Saint Benedict, the founder of the famous monastic order that bears his name, was born at Nursia, about 480 A.D. His parents, who were wealthy, intended to give him a liberal education; but their plans were defeated, for at fifteen years of age Benedict renounced his family and fortune, and fled from his school life in Rome. The vice of the city shocked and disgusted him.

The recovery was the work of Gregory I., the Great; but papal opposition to Gothic or Lombard dominion in Italy destroyed the prospect of political unification for the peninsula. Western monasticism had been greatly extended and organised by Benedict of Nursia and his rule comprised in silence, humility, and obedience.

Quintus Sertorius was of a noble family, born in the city of Nursia, in the country of the Sabines; his father died when he was young, and he was carefully and decently educated by his mother, whose name was Rhea, and whom he appears to have extremely loved and honored.

The founder of the monastic system in the West was the famous Benedict of Nursia, who had adapted the strict code of St. Basil, mitigating its severity, and making it more in accordance with the climate, manners, and general circumstances of Western peoples.

"Constantly did society attempt to form itself," says Guizot, "constantly was it destroyed by the act of man, by the absence of the moral conditions under which alone it can exist." But notwithstanding failures and discouragements, the work of reconstructing society moved painfully on, and among the brave master builders was Benedict of Nursia.

Caesar made an expedition against Nursia, among the Sabini, and routed the garrison encamped before it but was repulsed from the city by Tisienus Gallus. Accordingly, he went over into Umbria and laid siege to Sentinum, but failed to capture it.

This excellent man, a native of Nursia in the Sabine land, was from the first of a tender and even soft organization as his almost enthusiastic love for his mother, Raia, shows and at the same time of the most chivalrous bravery, as was proved by the honourable scars which he brought home from the Cimbrian, Spanish, and Italian wars.

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