Confessor, founder of western monasticism, born Nursia, Italy, c.480; died Monte Cassino, 543. A brother of Saint Scholastica, when only 17 he renounced the world, and the wealth and position of his family and took refuge in a cave at Subiaco, in the Sabine mountains, where he lived as a hermit for several years and established twelve monasteries for his followers, over which he ruled as abbot. Driven by persecution from Subiaco, 529, he settled at Monte Cassino, erected a large monastery and established his famous rule, combining manual labor and ascetic practises; he later founded a second house at Terracina. He died before the altar after receiving Holy Communion. He is invoked against poisoning. Emblems: bush, raven, bell, crosier. Relics at Monte Cassino and Fleury-sur-Loire. Feast, Roman Calendar, 21 March.