Benedict was born of nobility in Northumbria at the time of King Oswiu At the age of 25 he made the first of five trips to Rome. When he returned to England, he was "full of fervor and enthusiasm, during his life time helped introduce religious practices learned in Rome bring the indigenous Celtic church in to sync with the Roman Church.
On his second journey to Rome he was accompanied by Alchfirth of Deira, a son of King Oswiu. On the return journey to England Benedict stopped at Lerin's, a monastic island off the Mediterranean coast of Provence. During his two-year stay he underwent a course of instruction, taking monastic vows.
Benedict's vision was to establish a monastery for England modeled in the western European style. It was the first ecclesiastical building in Britain to be built in stone (up to that time the Celts had preferred wooden building or the out of doors for worship). He is also credited for bringing stain glass and Gregorian chant to England. The monastery eventually encluded a large library – several hundred volumes – it was here that Benedict's student Bede wrote his famous works.