His reputation for holiness attracted many disciples, some of whom remained with him to form a community of monks. In about 525 he moved south, with his monks, to the mountain of Monte Cassino where he founded the monastery with which his name is indelibly associated. He did not intend to create a monastic order, but the Rule which he wrote for his monks was so sane, balanced and wise that it was adopted by other monastic communities and remains to this day as a living model for the monastic life.
St Benedict died in 550 but Monte Cassino has survived as the chief house of the Benedictine Order, notwithstanding the disasters that have befallen it during its long history. The latest of these was its near-destruction by Allied bombing in 1944 (needlessly, as it happened) but it was rebuilt, and was reconsecrated by Pope Paul VI on 24th October 1964. A useful introduction to St Benedict is Esther de Waal’s Seeking God: the Way of St Benedict. St Benedict’s ‘day’ is 11th July.