BENEDICT OF ANIANE, ABBOT
By Richard Mc Brien
Benedict of Aniane (ca. 750–821) was a major reformer of Benedictine monasteries in France. Born of a noble Visigothic family in Languedoc, he became a courtier of Pepin III and Charlemagne and then a monk. As Benedict’s influence grew, he was enlisted by the Frankish emperor Louis the Pious, successor of Charlemagne, to apply the Rule of St. Benedict [ July 11] to all monasteries in his domain. Benedict stressed poverty, chastity, and obedience, the importance of the daily conventual Mass and the keeping of the liturgical hours, the standardizing of the intake of food and drink, and an emphasis on teaching, writing, and artistic work over manual labor on the part of monks who were also clerics. Benedict of Aniane’s feast is not on the General Roman Calendar.