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One of the first followers of St. Francis of Assisi, he felt his vocation after listening to a moving speech by the ‘poor man of Assisi’, who was staying in Arezzo in 1211. Benedetto, a young nobleman of Longobard descent from Arezzo, thus renounced the comforts of his original life to follow the discipline of St. Francis. He was loved and admired for his human and Christian qualities, and was nominated Minister for the Province of Le Marche by St. Francis when he was only 27 years old. Later on, he was sent to Greece, Rumania and Turkey as a missionary and, while in the Holy Land, was elected Minister for the Holy Land and the East, because of his capacity for peace and dialogue. He is thought to have built the first Franciscan Monastery in Constantinople. When he returned to Italy, he joined the ‘Convento dei Frati Minori’ in Arezzo, where his special devotion to the Virgin Mary inspired him to introduce the prayer of the ‘Angelus Domini’, the antiphon of the Incarnation, which later spread throughout the whole Catholic Church. When he died, the people of Arezzo beatified him because of the various miracles that he is said to have performed. His body lies in the Basilica di S. Francesco in this town.


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