Solemnity of Benedict

March 21 - The Passing of Benedict

Six days before Benedict's death, he ordered his tomb to be opened. Soon he was attacked by fever and was weakened with severe suffering. As the illness grew worse every day, Benedict asked his disciples to carry him into the oratory. There he strengthened himself for his departure. While the hands of his disciples held up his weak limbs, Benedict stood with his hands raised to heaven and breathed his last breath amidst words of prayer.

On that same day a revelation concerning Benedict came to two brothers, one of them resting in his cell, the other a long way off, in the form of a self-same vision. For they saw a road going in an easterly direction covered with carpets and shining with innumerable lamps which led from the cell right up to heaven. Above stood the shining figure of a man in venerable array who asked them if they knew whose road it was. The brothers admitted that they did not. So he said to them, "This is the road by which Benedict, beloved of God, ascends to heaven." Thus the death of the holy man was seen by the disciples present and was also made known to those absent by the sign foretold to them.

Benedict was buried in the oratory of blessed John the Baptist which he himself had built after he destroyed the altar of Apollo.

The Life of Saint Benedict
by Gregory the Great