The Order of Saint Benedict (O.S.B.) is not a centralized religious order like the Franciscans, Dominicans, or Jesuits but rather a confederation of congregations of monks and nuns who follow the rule of Benedict of Nursia (c. 480–547). Each monastery is an autonomous community bound to other monasteries of the same congregation by loose juridic ties and associated with the rest of the confederation through common commitment to the rule. Benedict himself is known to have founded monasteries at Subiaco, Monte Cassino, and elsewhere in central Italy. Because of its wisdom and moderation his rule was also adopted in many of the other monasteries of Latin Christendom. Its widespread implementation was also fostered by the missionary zeal of the early Benedictine monks and by papal patronage.

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