Benedict, St. A monk who founded the first religious order in the West. Born at Nursia in the Duchy of Spoleto in 480. At an early age, he retired to a cavern to devote himself to study. This austerity gained him fame. By him, the monastery of Monte Cassino, near Naples, was established in 529. One leading principle which he laid down was that the order should maintain themselves by the labor of their hands. Died 543.