The principal monastery of the "Benedictine Order," founded by Saint Benedict about 530 A.D. sits on a hill overlooking the town of Monte Cassino upon the boundaries of Samnium and Campania, on the river Liris.
Rooted in History
King Totila's visit to Monte Cassino, in 543, is the only certain date we have in the saint's life. It must have occurred when Benedict was advanced in years, for the saint's death is put in the same year, 21 March 543. Benedict and his sister, Saint Scholastica, were buried there.
From his fifth to thirteenth years of age the young Thomas Aquinas prepared at Monte Cassino for the liberal arts curriculum he began in 1236 at the university in Naples.
Monte Cassino was destroyed by the Lombards ca. 585, by the Saracens in 884, by the Normans in 1046, by an earthquake in 1349, and by American bombs in February of 1944. Most of the art collection was destroyed in 1944 including the Beuronese murals in the crypt, but many valuable manuscripts were saved. It was once again restored and reconsecrated by Pope Paul VI in 1964. It was designated an Italian National Monument in 1866 with the monks acting as guardians.
"Monte Cassino," New Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, 1994.
The Abbey of Monte Cassino (Italy for the financially challenged).
The Battle of Monte Cassino (BBC UK: WWII).
- Google Videos about the Battle of Monte Cassino.
Benvenuti a Montecassino (brief history in Italian)
Dal Volturno a Cassino: Campagna d'Italia, 1943-45. La città di Cassino e la sua Abbazia coinvolte in una delle più terribili battaglie della Seconda Guerra Mondiale.
Glazier, Joan. "Monte Cassino" in The Modern Catholic Encyclopedia (A Michael Glazier Book), The Liturgical Press (1995) 584-585.
Hicks, Bruno OSB. "The Benedictines" in Benedictine Biographies (CTS, 1912) 1-32.
John Paul II, Pope. "Meditation on the 50th anniversary of the victory of Monte Cassino". On 18 May 1944, after a difficult winter campaign and the loss of many Polish soldiers, the Allies occupied the bombed ruins atop Monte Cassino. On this date Karol Wojtia celebrated his 24th birthday as a clandestine seminarian in Krakow.
Monte Cassino's Web site (numerous graphics; October 1996-).
Illustration: Titlepage vignette, emblem of Monte Cassino (a tree stump with sprouts) surrounded by the motto of the abbey, "succisa virescit (cut down, it grows green)" (Regulae Sancti Benedicti traditio codicum Mss. Casinensium / cura et studio monachorum in archicoenobio Casinensi degentium. Montiscasini, 1900).
Photographs from Monte Cassino by Tommaso Leccisotti, Ed. and tr. into English by Armand O. Citarella (Monte Cassino, 1987). © Copyright 1987 by Abbey of Monte Cassino. All rights reserved.
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