Through the writings of St. Gregory the Great (540 AD through 604 AD) we know that Saint Benedict had a strong devotion to the cross of Christ and worked miracles with it. This faith-filled devotion was passed down through the generations of Benedictines. While the exact date of the creation of the St. Benedict medal is unknown, the first references to it dates back as early as 1049, when Pope Leo IX transformed the cross of St. Benedict into the medal form, and enriched the medal with special blessings. Which is no wonder since tradition holds that Pope Leo IX was healed in his youth from a venomous snake bite by a vision of St. Benedict holding a radiant cross.
Pope Benedict XIV, moved by the many blessings God bestowed through the medal, willed that all should share these blessings and ensured that they would. He approved the devotion in 1741 and recommended it to all the faithful. Further than that, the same holy Pontiff enriched the medal with numerous indulgences. Over the course of the medal’s life, which at this point is about one thousand years old, additions were made including prayers for peace, and the exorcism prayer against Satan.
What we now know as the St. Benedict Medal was struck in 1880 under the supervision of the Italian monks of Montecassino, in honor of the 1400th anniversary of St. Benedict’s birth. It contains all the powerful features associated with the medal.
The back of the St. Benedict Medal is featured on our Catholic Car Magnet, available for purchase here.
Learn the meaning behind the medal here! Please note: every St. Benedict Medal Catholic Car Magnet comes with a sticker containing the information in the image below so that all those who bestow the Magnet understands what it means:
The front of the medal (not included on the Magnet) depicts St. Benedict holding a cross in his right and, and the rule of St. Benedict in his left. The rule of St. Benedict can be summed up in the following statement:
“walk in God’s ways, with the Gospel as our guide”
In summary, the medal of St. Benedict is a powerful spiritual tool that:
protects from spiritual and physical harm
encourages us in our faith journey
wholly rejects Satan and his lies
That being said, it is important to note that it's not reasonable to think of the medal (or the Magnet on your car) as a magic charm that will protect you from harm despite no real effort to grow closer to Christ and follow his commands. Now... the good Lord may see fit to do just that.... we won’t venture to tell God what He can and can’t do. However, surely it is better if the medal is a constant reminder to pray, for your own continued conversion, and that of those around you, and those who see the image on your car. That is where the real spiritual benefit comes from. What lasting benefit is it for you if you are spared from, say... physical injury through the medal, but grow no closer to Christ? In the end, none. It is with this mindset, and spiritual striving, that the medal can truly bless and protect you and those you meet.
This is just a small glimpse into the great history and meaning of the St. Benedict Medal, here are some resources for you to dive deeper and learn even more: