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Saint Benedict of Aniane

Born in 747 AD in France, Saint Benedict of Aniane was the son of Aigulf, Count of Maguelonne, a Visigoth. He grew up studying under Pippin the Younger and served as a royal page and cupbearer. He would then go on to serve at the court of Charlemagne and accompanied the King in the Italian campaign in 773. It was during this campaign he almost drowned near Pavia in an attempt to save his brother. This near death experience fortified a resolve that had been growing inside Saint Benedict his entire life - that he should abandoned the world and live a monastic, consecrated life.

Soon after his return from the campaign, Saint Benedict join the monastery of Saint Sequanus, the Abbey of Saint-Seine and was made cellarer. After being elected abbot, he realized that the strict lifestyle and practices he so wished to live would never be approved by his fellow monks. He left the monastery and formed a hermitage at Languedoc. He then formed a monastic community in the same town in 780 centered on Eastern asceticism but the community never grew as he had hoped.

In 781 AD, the King of Aquitaine, Louis the Pious, asked Saint Benedict to reform the monasteries in his territories, a role Saint Benedict accepted with joy. He formed a monastery based on the Benedictine Rule near Languedoc that was extremely successful. Saint Benedict continued using his knowledge of strict monastic life to help coordinate practices and communications across the King's territories. In 817, Saint Benedict served as the head at a council of abbots at the town of Aachen where a code of regulations (Codex regularum) was written to be binding on all of the abbot's monasteries. Saint Benedict wrote that monks should use prayer, study, meditation and reading to "pass from faith to sight".

On February 11th, 821 AD, Saint Benedict of Aniane died at Kornelimunster Abbey, the monastery King Louis had built for him. He was buried there the following day. Today, Saint Benedict of Aniane is often called the Second Benedict and his feast day is celebrated on February 12th, the day of his burial.

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