SAINT BENEDICT THE MOOR

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Saint Benedict The Moor

Patron Saint of Saint Benedict The Moor Catholic Church

St Benedict the Black was the son of Negro slaves who were taken from Africa to San Fratello, Sicily, where they were converted to Christianity. They lived such exemplary lives and fulfilled their duties so thoroughly that their owner, in appreciation, granted freedom to their eighteen-year-old son, Benedict. He continued to work as a day laborer, generously sharing his small wages with the poor and spending his free time in caring for the sick. When twenty-one years of age, Benedict sold his few possessions, gave the money to the poor and joined the monastic group at San Fratello, later moving with them to Palermo. For many years he was happily employed in the kitchen as a lay brother at the Friary of St Mary of Jesus, but upon the death of his director, he was chosen the guardian of the friary, even though he could neither read nor write. After serving one term in this office, he was chosen novice master. He possessed extraordinary gifts of prayer, was divinely given an infused knowledge of the Scriptures, and had an intuitive grasp of deep theological truths, which astounded learned men and aided him in the direction of souls.

The reports of his sanctity spread throughout Sicily, and the monastery was constantly beset with visitors – the poor requesting alms, the sick in search of a miracle, and people of all ranks seeking advice or prayers. St Benedict's face was often seen to shine with a celestial light, especially when he was praying in the chapel. He was employed as a cook, but it was noted that angels were seen assisting him in the kitchen and than, moreover, food seemed to multiply miraculously under his hands.

Saint Benedict the Moor died after a short illness at the age of sixty-three, at the very hour he had predicted, and was buried with great solemnity in the common vault behind the sacristy of the church. St Benedict the Moor was beatified by Pope Benedict XIV in 1743 and was canonized by Pope Pius VII in 1807. St Benedict the Black has been proclaimed the “Patron of all Negro Missions in North America.”

*Excerpts from http://www.roman-catholic-saints.com/st-benedict-the-moor.html