Oh, Dearest Mother, Sweetest Virgin of Altagracia, our Patroness. You are our Advocate and to you we recommend our needs. You are our Teacher and like disciples we come to learn from the example of your holy life. You are our Mother, and like children, we come to offer you all of the love of our hearts. Receive, dearest Mother, our offerings and listen attentively to our supplications. Amen.



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MaryM
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Posted: July 09 2005 at 11:29am | IP Logged Quote MaryM

Since Marybeth mentioned St. James - I thought it would be a good time to also run a thread of ideas for St. Benedict's Feast Day on July 11. Considering that our new Holy Father has chosen this name it's especially fitting to have special activities/celebration this year.

Catholic Culture's page as always, is a great start.
St. Benedict

Other ideas?

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Posted: July 09 2005 at 1:08pm | IP Logged Quote Marybeth

I watch my sister's four children on July 11th so we are going to make a cave in their backyard. We are going to take in it some religious books, read about St. Benedict and say the rosary. I am sure my 14 year old nephew will be thrilled.

We will then each choose a symbol of St. Benedict and make a craft using whatever art supplies they have on hand. I want them to hang these in their rooms so in remembering St. Benedict they remember to pray daily for our new Holy Father.

I wonder if I can find a bell shaped cookie cutter so we could make cookies too?? hmmm...will need to dig in my sister's cabinets....
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Posted: July 09 2005 at 1:52pm | IP Logged Quote MaryM

Bell cookie cutters should be available at craft stores year around. (And since it's about time for stores to start selling for Christmas anyway might be readily available)

Ran across these:
Images of St. Benedict

Fun Facts from Saints and Angels website.

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Posted: July 09 2005 at 2:00pm | IP Logged Quote MaryM

Marybeth wrote:
... we are going to make a cave in their backyard.

Great idea!
Or find a local cave for some spelunking.
Benedict is considered the patron of speliologists (cave explorers). Maybe a mini study study of caves in general - formation of caves, stalagtites/stalagmites, cave-dwelling animals.

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Posted: July 09 2005 at 2:01pm | IP Logged Quote JennGM

The story of the St. Benedict medal is just fascinating. See The Medal or Cross of St. Benedict by Dom Gueranger.

Telling that story of the blessing over the poisoned cup and it shattering is a great one to tell children. That easily brings in discussion of the powerful evil of the devil but the stronger power of prayer. This discussion is great in reinforcing the need for blessing our food before partaking -- thanking God, but also asking him to bless us and the food.

Also St. Benedict has a connection with bees (see Blessing of the Bees on the Feast of St. Benedict), which can lead to all sorts of rabbit trails on bees, beehives, honey, wax, candlemaking, pysanky eggs, beeswax crayons, etc. There have been a few discussions already on the boards on
1) Candlemaking,
2) Bees
3) Easter Vigil Notebooks and
4) Easter Eggs Traditions.

Either here or on the CCM list there has been discussion of using cookie molds like the ones from House on the Hill and making beeswax shapes. They sell beeswax, have some molds with the bees depicted. Some other ideas on candlemaking are connected to the feast of St. Ambrose.

The study of Roman history correlates with Benedict, as his vocation rose from living and seeing the overindulgence and sins of the Roman Empire.

How about the connection of our new pope Benedict with the Benedictines? After he was elected he immediately went to Subiaco, the original monastery that Benedict had founded. Studying the history of Subiacois also fascinating. This is the Official site. This is the English version of the site. And here is another tour. Just take a peek at the library!!!! What a dream place!!!

The Rule of St. Benedict is an easy read and food for much discussion. A family is a miniature monastery in a sense. The famous line "Ora et Labora" (Pray and Work), the two tenets of the Benedictine Rule are still around to this day. In print, a good translation, see Image version: The Rule of St. Benedict

There's a great interview with Father Longeneck about applying St. Benedict's rule to the family here. Father Dwight Longenecker also wrote two books Listen My Son: St. Benedict for Fathers and St. Benedict and St. Therese. These I have not read, but want to!

Another author, a Protestant, wrote a book Christian Family Toolbox: 52 Benedictine Activities for the Home and The Family Cloister: Benedictine Wisdom for the Home based on applying St. Benedict to the family life.

And lastly, two reprinted books by Ignatius: Louis De Wohl's Citadel of God (excellent!) and Mary Fabean Windeatt St. Benedict, Hero of the Hills.

Just a word of caution: not all Benedict or Benedictine related books are created equal. Translations and commentaries on the Rule of St. Benedict, Benedictine Spirituality run the gamut. Benedictine oblates can be non-Catholics. There are some seriously erroneous writings in this vein, so tread carefully.

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Posted: July 09 2005 at 2:38pm | IP Logged Quote Marybeth

Jenn,

I don't know the story of the poisoned cup? Could you do a quick explanation or just tell me where to look it up? Thanks. I think my future cave dwellers would love it!

Hey, I may have to make a special trip to Hobby Lobby and look at their Christmas aisle.

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Posted: July 09 2005 at 3:50pm | IP Logged Quote MaryM

Marybeth wrote:

I don't know the story of the poisoned cup? Could you do a quick explanation or just tell me where to look it up?


Maybe Jenn has a more detailed story or site - but this is a short version of the stories I've heard.

After Benedict had been living as a hermit for several years a religious community came to him after the death of their abbot and asked Benedict to take over. Some of the monks didn't like this plan and the rigor of his rule and attempted to kill him with poisoned bread and wine. When St. Benedict made the sign of the Cross over the cup of wine and the bread, the cup holding the wine shattered (some versions I've seen say it spilled) and some versions indicate a raven carried off the bread.

Here is an explanation of the St. Benedict Medal and the meaning of the symbols on it which includes the poisoned cup and the raven.



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Posted: July 09 2005 at 3:59pm | IP Logged Quote JennGM

Hey, for the adults, have a little sip of Benedictine or B&B for the feast!

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Posted: July 09 2005 at 7:23pm | IP Logged Quote Marybeth

I think maybe we will go to the Catholic store in our neighborhood and buy some St. Benedict medals.

Thanks for the links!

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Posted: July 09 2005 at 7:25pm | IP Logged Quote Marybeth

I forgot to thank Mary for explaining the St. Benedict and the poison story for me. Thank you very much!!

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Posted: July 09 2005 at 10:40pm | IP Logged Quote JennGM

MaryM wrote:
Marybeth wrote:

I don't know the story of the poisoned cup? Could you do a quick explanation or just tell me where to look it up?


Maybe Jenn has a more detalied story or site - but this is a short version of the stories I've heard.


Your version is better than mine, Mary! Thanks for taking the time to type it up!

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Posted: July 09 2005 at 10:56pm | IP Logged Quote alicegunther

You would also enjoy reading The Holy Twins by Tomie dePaola, a picture book on the life of St. Benedict and his twin sister, St. Scholastica. I have told my children repeatedly that if I were ever blessed with twins, a boy and a girl, they would have the middle names Benedict and Scholastica!

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Posted: July 10 2005 at 6:50am | IP Logged Quote JennGM

alicegunther wrote:
You would also enjoy reading The Holy Twins by Tomie dePaola, a picture book on the life of St. Benedict and his twin sister, St. Scholastica.
Thanks for the reminder, Alice! This book slipped my mind and I had bought a copy at a used book sale this year.

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Posted: July 11 2005 at 8:43am | IP Logged Quote JennGM

Oh, another famous monastery founded by St. Benedict is Monte Cassino. A whole unit study could be done on the monasteries Benedict founded, or even this one alone. There was even a Battle of Monte Cassino in WWII where it was bombed to ruins, hundreds of innocent lives lost.

From Catholic Encyclopedia. Also the Benedictine's website gives some information and links about this monastery.

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Posted: July 11 2005 at 10:06am | IP Logged Quote stefoodie

When I was looking for food to prepare to celebrate the Pope's election, I found several references to "Pope food" being served in Marktl (?) Am Inn in Germany (the Pope's birthplace) -- including "Pabstbier" Pope's beer, and "Vatican Bread". I even found references to Ratzinger slices, Benedict cake, and Pope honey. Over the top but funny.

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Posted: July 11 2005 at 10:28am | IP Logged Quote JennGM

My Nameday, Come for Dessert suggests a Honey Chiffon Cake or Glace Benedictine (Strawberry ice cream laced with Benedictine liqueur). See EWTN:

HONEY CHIFFON PIE

Honey is a symbol of purity and sweetness, and as such is used especially for Our Lady and for virgin-saints. Paradise, the reward of the faithful for their labors for Christ, is known as the "land of milk and honey." Honey desserts are used for saints who have a beehive symbol: Benedict, Deborah, Abina, Gail, Ambrose, Bernard and John Chrysostom.

Since honey is the oldest sweetening agent, it is not surprising that this nectar is a favorite ingredient in hundreds of desserts, ranging from the many-layered honey-drenched "Baklava" to the light, delicately textured Honey Chiffon Pie. The filling of the latter is smooth as velvet and it is served in a golden pastry shell which is equally delicious. Crisp and tender, the
crust is made with golden shortening to give a special golden flakiness.

For a golden pie shell you will need:

1 1/2 cups enriched flour         & nbsp;    
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup solid shortening

In a mixing bowl combine 1-1/2 cups of sifted enriched flour and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in 1/2 cup of solid shortening until the mixture looks like coarse corn meal. Sprinkle water over the mixture, a tablespoonful at a time, and mix lightly with a fork until all the flour is moist.

With your hands gather the dough into a ball. On a lightly floured board, roll out pastry in a circle 1/8 inch thick and about 1-1/2 inches larger in diameter than your pie plate. Fit the pastry loosely into a nine-inch plate and trim off the edge, leaving 1/2 inch overhanging. Fold the overhanging edge back and under.

Build up a fluted edge; place your left forefinger against the inside of the pastry rim and pinch the outside with the right thumb and forefinger. Repeat all around the rim. Prick the bottom and sides of the pastry generously with a fork. Bake at 425 degrees F. for 12 to 15 minutes.

HONEY CHIFFON FILLING

2 Tablespoons gelatine
1/2 cup water
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup honey
3 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 oz can mandarin oranges, saving juice
1 cup whipped cream

Soften 2 tablespoons of gelatine in 1/2 cup of water for 5 minutes. In a saucepan combine 1-1/4 cups of milk and 1/2 cup of honey and bring to a boil. Beat 3 eggs with a little of the hot milk until blended; stir egg mixture into the hot milk and cook over low heat, stirring for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, add gelatine, and stir until the gelatine is dissolved. Stir in the juice drained from one ten-ounce jar of mandarin oranges (it should measure about 1/2 cup) and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

Refrigerate the custard, stirring occasionally until it mounds from a spoon. Beat the custard until smooth. Fold in 1 cup of whipped cream and the mandarin oranges.

Spoon about two-thirds of the filling into the golden pie shell and chill until set. Chill the remaining filling until set; then heap by teaspoonfuls on top of the pie. Top with additional whipped cream if desired. Garnish with mandarin orange slices or strawberries and refrigerate until serving time.

GlacÚ Benedictine

Strawberry ice cream flavored with Benedictine, a famous aromatic liqueur first made by a monk called Dom Bernardo Vincelli. This is a dessert that could be used on the namedays of Benedictine saints, such as Sts. Gertrude, Benedict, Scholastica, and Maurus.

========================

This quote from the book I thought had a lot of food for thought: "St. Benedict warns that personal prayers should be short in order to bring the mind to God and not leave it exposed to the danger of idle thoughts."

Got this from the VIS today:

POPE RECALLS ST. BENEDICT, A FOUNDER OF CIVILIZATION

VATICAN CITY, JUL 10, 2005 (VIS) - The Pope's reflections prior to praying the noon Angelus today concentrated on the figure of St. Benedict, abbot, founder of the Benedictine Order and patron saint of Europe, whose feast day falls tomorrow.

The Pope reminded the 40,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square of some of the episodes in the life of this saint (480-547) from Nursia, Italy, who abandoned Rome and retired to the mountains of Subiaco. There he created "a fraternal community founded on the primacy of the love of Christ, a community in which prayer and work alternated harmoniously in praise to God."

The Pope explained how the author of the famous Benedictine Rule, "amid the ashes of the Roman empire and seeking before all else the Kingdom of God, laid, perhaps unknowingly, the seed of a new civilization which would later develop, integrating Christian values with, on the one hand, classical heritage and, on the other, Germanic and Slav cultures."

Benedict XVI also recalled that the saint whose name he had taken "did not found a monastic institution with the aim of evangelizing barbarian peoples, as other great missionary monks of the time did, rather he indicated to his followers that the search for God is the fundamental, indeed the only, goal of existence."

"Nevertheless, he also knew that when believers enter into a profound relationship with God, they cannot be content with living a mediocre life marked by minimalist ethics and superficial religiosity.... St Benedict said: 'Place nothing before the love of Christ.' This is sanctity, which is valid for all Christians and has become a true pastoral priority in our own times, when we feel such a need to anchor life and history to solid spiritual references."

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Posted: July 11 2005 at 3:08pm | IP Logged Quote JennGM

stefoodie wrote:
When I was looking for food to prepare to celebrate the Pope's election, I found several references to "Pope food" being served in Marktl (?) Am Inn in Germany (the Pope's birthplace) -- including "Pabstbier" Pope's beer, and "Vatican Bread". I even found references to Ratzinger slices, Benedict cake, and Pope honey. Over the top but funny.


Did these have recipes? Or just names applied to existing recipes?

Oh, too many things going through my head today! Benedict was born in Nursia, Italy, which is the Umbria region of Italy, same region as St. Francis. There are some great Italian dishes that could be served up today, also, in honor of this saint.

See Patron Saints Index for further information and great links on Benedict.

Also, St. Gregory the Great wrote a story of Benedict, called Life of St. Benedict. I love when saints' lives overlap. I started brainstorming about Gregory's feast day, since it's a big family patron saint (my maiden name is Gregory).

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Posted: July 11 2005 at 9:43pm | IP Logged Quote Kelly

Re: Monte Cassino, I think that is where the Italians/Germans stored many of their priceless art treasures during the war. Along with the loss of human life was the loss of this stash of priceless art.

You can read more about this in the book, "The Rape of Europa".

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Posted: July 10 2007 at 5:08pm | IP Logged Quote aussieannie

Just wanted to bump this great thread, in Aus it is the morning of his feast and I am looking for some good ideas...

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Posted: July 10 2007 at 5:11pm | IP Logged Quote aussieannie

Our local bakery sells 'beestings' it is a beautiful cake that has a custard/cream filling and a honey topping encrusted in almond slivers - I think this is my easiest feasting option I have a lovely big plastic St Benedict Medal that could sit on top.

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