St Benedict’s Courtyard
scriptorium novum in horto concluso
Let all guests who arrive be received like Christ, for he will say, ‘I came as a guest, and you received me’. Rule of St Benedict, Chapter 53
Welcome to St Benedict’s Courtyard. We hope you will enjoy reading, writing, thinking, and being a guest in this space.
For centuries those who labored in the scriptoria of religious houses preserved and enlarged upon the corpus of human learning passed down from generation to generation. Today those who write - academics, novelists, poets, playwrights, journalists, bloggers, and others - more than ever, have an important role in ‘making the heart of the people wise, its mind sound, and its will righteous’ (Book of Common Prayer). We are glad to provide a space for you to do that.
Please respect the peace and quietness of this place, keeping conversation low and avoiding the use of phones.
St John’s Church, which is air-conditioned, is open via the Common Room for prayer, silence, and meditation, without the use of phones or laptops.
St Benedict was the founder of western monasticism. Born in Nursia, central Italy, around the year 480, he was sent as a young man to study in Rome, but was soon appalled by the corruption in society and withdrew to live as a hermit at Subiaco. He quickly attracted disciples and began to establish small monasteries in the neighborhood. Around the year 525, a disaffected faction tried to poison him so Benedict moved to Monte Cassino with a band of loyal monks. Later in life Benedict wrote his Rule for Monks, based on his own experience of fallible people striving to live out the gospel. His Rule was so good that it was disseminated and widely followed, becoming the model for all western monasticism. Benedict died at Monte Cassino in about the year 550.