This Italian-made St Benedict medal is presented in an attractive little package. It is a great size and the explanation below outlines the reasons for the markings on it.
The medal’s symbolism
On the front of the medal is Saint Benedict holding a cross in his right hand, the Christian symbol of salvation, and in the left his rule for monasteries. To Benedict’s right, below the cross, is a poisoned cup, a reference to the legend that hostile monks attempted to poison him, and the cup containing poisoned wine shattered when the saint made the sign of the cross over it. To his left, below the rule, the raven that carried off a loaf of poisoned bread. From this is derived the tradition that the medal protects against poisoning.
Above the cup and raven are the words Crux sancti patris Benedicti (“The Cross of [our] Holy Father Benedict”).
Surrounding the figure of Saint Benedict are the words Eius in obitu nostro praesentia muniamur! (“May we be strengthened by his presence in the hour of our death”), since Benedictines regarded him as a particular patron of a happy death. Below the icon of St. Benedict, it is written ‘EX SM Casino, MDCCCLXXX’ and it means ‘Found out from the Casino mountain in 1880.’
On the back is a cross, containing the letters C S S M L – N D S M D, initials of the words Crux sacra sit mihi lux! Numquam draco sit mihi dux! (“May the holy cross be my light! May the never be my overlord!”).
The large C S P B stand for Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti (“The Cross of [our] Holy Father Benedict”).
Surrounding the back of the medal are the letters V R S N S M V – S M Q L I V B, in reference to Vade retro satana: Vade retro Satana! Numquam 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!”).
Finally, located at the top is the word PAX which means “peace”.