Secret of the St Benedict Medal: its True, Original Meaning

Dec 30, 2022
Old vs New St Benedict Medal

There can be no doubt that the Saint Benedict Medal is very powerful indeed. But did you know that the version we are familiar with today is very different from what the original medal looked like? In this post, I'll compare the two medal designs so you can see how the meaning was changed.

A quick anecdote before we dive in (and another secret of the St. Benedict medal): apparently, Father Jim Blount, exorcist, planted Saint Benedict Medals around the Georgia Guidestones before they were destroyed! Is that cool, or what?

Watch Fr. Blount's testimony about the collapse of the Georgia Guidestones here.

OK, on to the subject of this post: what did the original design of the St. Benedict medal look like? And how does the original compare with the newer version?

Pope Leo IX's Original St. Benedict Medal

Those of us who live in the United States will be familiar with the 1880 "Jubilee" version of the St. Benedict Medal, but many of us have not ever seen or heard of the original version of the medal, designed by Pope Leo IX in 1049.

The 1880 Jubilee medal was commissioned by the monks of the Abbey of Monte Cassino, Italy to mark the 1400th anniversary of the birth of St. Benedict. However, with this new design, there were significant changes made. 

Why were so many changes made? Could there have been an ulterior motive to altering the design so drastically?

Honestly, I don't know. However, I was able to find some interesting information about the author of the new design.

The designer of the Jubilee medal was a guy named Desiderius Lenz: a German artist, who later became a Benedictine monk. Together with another monk of Calvinist background named Gabriel Wüger, he founded the Beuron Art School.

So what sort of a guy was this Desiderius Lenz? Was he a good Catholic? Or was he an infiltrator?

There's not a whole lot of information about him that I could find, except that he took an interest in the work of Egyptologist and archaeologist Karl Lepsius concerning the construction and ornamentation of Egyptian temples. These principles guided his work,* and the philosophy of the Beuronese style was based on elements of ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman art, combined with Byzantine and early Christian art.

While this is hardly proof that the man altered the design of the medal to intentionally reduce its efficacy, it does show that he was profoundly influenced by pagan art (as we know that the Egyptians worshipped pagan gods, and this idol worship is depicted in their art). In fact, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich said, from her visions of the Egyptians, that they were very heavily into the occult.

That being said, I don't have any way of knowing whether the Jubilee medals are any less effective than the old ones. All I can say is that, from personal experience, the old version of the medal works VERY WELL.

Here are the specific changes that Lenz made so that you have all the information and you can decide for yourself...

Pope Leo IX's Medal: Upper Side

  • St. Benedict holds the Cross in his right hand, and the book of the Holy Rule in his left
  • Miter of the Abbot of the Benedictine order on left (the equivalent of the episcopal miter)
  • Raven with folded wings, carrying bread in its beak (carrying off a poisoned loaf) on right
  • Inscription: Crux Sancti Patris Benedict (meaning: "Cross of Saint Benedict")

Lenz's "Jubilee" Medal: Upper Side

  • Altar with two columns placed in the background behind St. Benedict
  • Miter replaced by cracked cup with serpent crawling out (symbolic of the poisonous cup given to St. Benedict)
  • Raven now has wings outstretched and no longer holds the bread but appears to walk past it
  • Main inscription removed to background and new inscription added: Pius in obituary nostri praesentia muniamur (meaning: "May his presence defend us at the time of death")

Pope Leo IX's Medal:

  • IHS at the top: Jesus Hristus Salvator (meaning: "Jesus Christ the Savior")
  • Cross at the base
  • Simple Cross of St. Benedict in the center
  • On four fields around the cross are CSPB: Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti (meaning: "Cross of St. Benedict")
  • On vertical cross bar CSSML: Crux Sacra Sit Mihi Lux (meaning: "Let the Cross be My Light")
  • On cross beam NDSMD: Non Draco Sit Mihi Dux (meaning: "Let the Dragon Not be My Guide")
  • Edge letters VRSNSMV-SMQLIVB: Vade retro Satanam Numquam Suade Mihi Vana - Sunt Mala Quae Libas, Ipse Venena Bibas (meaning: "Begone satan, do not tempt me to vanity, it's bad what you suggest, drink the poison yourself")

Lenz's "Jubilee" Medal: Back Side

  • IHS (Jesus) was replaced with PAX (meaning: "peace")
  • Larva-like symbol replaces the cross at the base
  • Indentations added to ends of cross
  • CSPB letters now enclosed in circles (no longer forming a sentence?)
  • Other mysterious symbols at the ends of the cross and next to the word PAX
  • What is the Catholic justification for these new symbols?


Do you need an old-style St. Benedict medal?

A good friend has graciously donated some old-style, blessed St. Benedict medals, with the same design as Pope Leo IX's medal shown above. If you would like to have one, please contact me with your shipping address. There is no charge for this, but I would greatly appreciate any donation you can give to help me offset the cost of running my website, my email list, and shipping charges (which all adds up to a lot).

May the Most Holy Trinity bless you and protect you through the intercession of St. Benedict and the Blessed Virgin Mary!


*W. Verkade, Die Unruhe zu Gott (Herder & Co., Freiburg im Breisgau 1930 edition), pp. 203-04. 


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