St. Benedict: The Father of Western Monasticism
Tradition teaches that St. Benedict lived from 480 to 547 AD, though we cannot be sure that these dates are historically accurate. His biographer, St. Gregory the Great, pope from 590 to 604 AD, does not record the dates of his birth and death, though he refers to the Rule written by Benedict. Scholars debate the dating of the Rule though they seem to agree that it was written in the second half of the sixth century.
The Rule is the sole known example of Benedict's writing, but it manifests his genius to crystallize the best of the monastic tradition and therefore he is known as the "Father of Western Monasticism."
St. Gregory presents Benedict as the model of a saint who flees temptation to pursue a life of attention to God. Through a balanced pattern of living and praying, Benedict reached the point where he glimpsed the glory of God. Gregory recounts a vision that Benedict received toward the end of his life: "In the dead of night he suddenly beheld a flood of light shining down from above more brilliant than the sun, and with every trace of darkness cleared away." According to his own description, the whole world was gathered up before his eyes "in what appeared to be a single ray of light" (ch. 34).
St. Benedict, the monk par excellence, led a monastic life that reached the vision of God.
from: The Catholic Encyclopedia: The Benedictine Tradition