Saint Benedict Medal: A Key to Understanding It

Before we look into Saint Benedict medal meaning, let’s brush up on a few facts about the life of Benedict of Nursia. Born in 480 in a noble Roman family, at the age of 12, he moved to Rome to pursue literary studies. However, shocked by the licentiousness of his companions, he soon retired to Subiaco, a tiny town in the region of Lazio. 

His holiness, demonstrated during three years of hermit life, had drawn the attention of numerous nearby monasteries to him. Still, when a religious community asked Benedict to become their abbot, his opponents did not appreciate his growing popularity and attempted to poison him, twice! Shortly after the second attempt — you can see it on the front side of the Saint Benedict medal, featuring a cup and a raven carrying away the poisoned bread — the Saint began his preaching labor. He founded several monasteries and provided them with a set of clear and concise guidelines, recognized as the Holy Rule.

Saint Benedict medal meaning

Saint Benedict medal was designed in 1880 in Montecassino to commemorate the 1400th anniversary of his birth. Let’s take a closer look at it.

The obverse

At the center of the front side, we see the Saint holding a Cross in one hand, and his Rule in the other. Both symbolize the work of evangelization carried out by Benedict and his monks in all Europe.

The following legend decorates the margin of the medal: “Ejus in obitu nostro praesentia muniamus,” that is, “May his presence at our death fortify us.”

The front side of St Benedict medal.

The reverse

The backside of the medal seems even more hard to decipher. Commemorating St Benedict working miracles through the sign of the cross, this side of the pendant bears a predominant image of a cross, surrounded by a series of capital letters, impossible to decode without knowing the exact words that they stand for. Let’s see what hides beneath this inscription:

C S S M L | Crux sacra sit mihi lux. Nunquam draco sit mihi dux. May the holy cross be my light. May the dragon never be my guide.
C S P B | Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti. The cross of our holy father, Benedict.
V R S N S M V - S M Q L I V B | Vade retro Satana. Nunquam suade mihi vana. Sunt mala quae libas. Ipse venena bibas. Begone Satan. Never tempt me with your vanities. What you offer me is evil. Drink the poison yourself.

The back side of the Benedict medal.

Uses and benefits of St Benedict medal

The benefits of the Saint Benedict medal are mainly related to physical and spiritual wellbeing, household, and death.

First of all, home is our shelter. It is one of the most beautiful and safest places to be and to spend time with our families. That’s why many believers invoke St Benedict for protection of their households and hang St Benedict wall crucifix or medal on their walls.

St Benedict medal also fosters a happy death, which is especially welcomed by those who suffered from a prolonged illness.

Furthermore, the single most renowned reason why this sacramental is so cherished by all the faithful is that it helps us on our way to God. Use this incredible instrument of faith when you feel in danger. Do not battle the evil forces alone.

Finally, St Benedict Medal is famous for granting many favors and miracles, which is why we suggest you resort to it in case of sickness.

St Benedict prayer

It is essential to point out that the V R S N S M V - S M Q L I V B (see above) is the well-known St. Benedict prayer of exorcism against Satan. The medal as a whole seems to suggest that St. Benedict’s intercession can impart protection and strength to us believers by giving us the example of a Good Life, summed up in the Rule “Ora et Labora”.
On the top of the backside of the medal, we see the word PAX, meaning “peace” in Latin, which was the Benedictine motto.
Please browse our selection of items dedicated to this inspiring Saint, patron saint of Europe and students, protecting against evil and diseases.

Saint Benedict Medal by Savelli Religious >

St Benedict cross

St Benedict cross is as notorious as the medal, which is featured right at the center of it. Its design is spectacular, and it reinforces the importance of the crucifix as Benedict’s instrument of miracle-making.

Learn more about St Benedict:

Read "Benedict of Nursia: The Founder of a New Way to God"→