The Meaning of the St. Benedict Medal and Exorcism Blessings

The St. Benedict Medal

Many of the products you see at Rugged Rosaries feature the St. Benedict Medal. This medal is one of the most famous and powerful symbols of the Catholic faith, but what does it stand for and what do all those symbols mean? Here we will explain the medal and also give you the prayers needed for the blessing of the St. Benedict medals. 

Brief History of the St. Benedict Medal

The medal is derived from an original symbol of St. Benedict of Nursia who lived during the 6th century. He created the Rule of St. Benedict which among other things taught how to be obedient and humble. During his life as a monk and abbot, there were several attempts to murder him through poison but each time a miracle occurred to spare him. Because of more and more miracles that became associated with St. Benedict, he became a very popular figure in his time. 

The medal of St. Benedict combines a depiction of the original figure of St. Benedict of Nursia created during the time of Pope Leo IX (11th century), along with symbols which were seen on the medal again in the 17th century. It was formally approved in 1741 by Pope Benedict XIV. The modern medal in use today was first struck in 1880. 

Why is St. Benedict so popular?

This saint medal is clearly rich in meaning and excels at warding off evil spirits as a sacramental.  Many have been carrying and wearing St. Benedict medals for years, and thousands of miracles are attributed to St. Benedict through the intercession of these medals throughout the world. It excels in warding off evil and has often been called "the devil chaser". 

Unraveling the Symbols of the Saint Benedict Medal

The Saint Benedict Medal is a revered emblem in Christian tradition, particularly among Catholics, embodying a rich tapestry of spiritual significance and protection. Known for its intricate details and profound symbolism, this medal not only serves as a devotional object but also as a spiritual armor against evil. Here, we explore the various symbols adorning the medal and their meanings, which together tell a story of faith, prayer, and divine guardianship.

Origins and Historical Background

The Saint Benedict Medal originally stems from a cross inscribed with complex symbolism associated with the life and teachings of Saint Benedict of Nursia, the founder of Western monasticism. Although the exact origins of the medal are shrouded in the mists of medieval times, it gained widespread popularity in the 17th century when it was formally approved by Benedict XIV in 1742. The medal is often used by believers for protection and to seek the intercession of Saint Benedict.

Front of the Medal: The Image of Saint Benedict

At the heart of the medal, Saint Benedict is typically depicted holding a cross in one hand and the Holy Rule in the other. This portrayal symbolizes his role as a guide and leader in monastic and spiritual life. The cross represents the Christian's call to faith and the Holy Rule denotes the set of guidelines he wrote for monastic life, emphasizing obedience, stability, and community living.

Surrounding Saint Benedict are the Latin words: "Eius in obitu nostro praesentia muniamur" translating to "May we be strengthened by his presence in the hour of our death." This inscription highlights the protective and guiding influence that Saint Benedict is believed to offer, especially at life's final moments.

The Reverse of the Medal: A Concentration of Christian Symbolism
The other side of the medal is where the symbolism becomes particularly dense and meaningful. The outer edge of the medal bears the inscription, "Vade retro Satana! Nunquam suade mihi vana! Sunt mala quae libas. Ipse venena bibas!" meaning "Begone, Satan! Do not suggest to me thy vanities! Evil are the things thou profferest, drink thou thy own poison." This powerful exorcism formula is believed to protect the wearer from evil influences and temptations.

Central to the reverse side is a cross, often with the letters C S S M L - N D S M D, which stand for the Latin prayer: "Crux sacra sit mihi lux! Non draco sit mihi dux!" ("May the holy cross be my light! May the dragon never be my guide!"). This underscores the Christian belief in the cross as a symbol of light and salvation, contrasting sharply with the darkness associated with evil, often symbolized by the dragon.

Additionally, the initials around the perimeter of the cross (V R S N S M V - S M Q L I V B) unpack into a further protective formula: "Vade retro Satana, non suade mihi vana—sunt mala quae libas, ipse venena bibas." The presence of these inscriptions encapsulates a plea for deliverance from evil, a common theme in Christian artifacts meant for protection.

Spiritual and Cultural Impact
The Saint Benedict Medal is more than a piece of religious jewelry; it is a mini-catechism of the Christian faith, rich in spiritual warfare prayers and symbolism. It is frequently used in blessings and exorcisms within the Church, underpinning its role as a spiritual shield.

For believers, the Saint Benedict Medal is not just a testament to the power of faith and prayer but also a daily reminder of the spiritual warfare that Christians are called to engage in. It encourages a life oriented towards goodness and fortified against the evils that lurk in spiritual complacency.

In conclusion, the Saint Benedict Medal is a profound symbol within Christian iconography.  Its enduring popularity underscores its significance in providing both comfort and a tangible connection to the divine.

Blessings for the Medal of St. Benedict

Downloadable, printable version of these prayers which you can take to your priest to have your St. Benedict medals blessed can be found by clicking HERE.


Our help is in the name of the Lord Our Father.

Response: Who made heaven and earth.

In the name of God the Father + Almighty, Who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them, I exorcise these medals against the power and attacks of the evil one. May all who use these medals devoutly be blessed with health of soul and body. In the name of the Father + Almighty, of His Son + Jesus Christ our Lord, and of the Holy + Spirit the Paraclete, and in the love of the same Lord Jesus Christ Who will come on the last day to judge the living and the dead.

Response: Amen.

Let us pray. Almighty God, the boundless Source of all good things, we humbly ask that, through the intercession of St. Benedict, Thou pourest out Thy blessings + upon these medals. May those who use them devoutly and earnestly strive to perform goods works be blessed by Thee with health of soul and body, the grace of a holy death, and remission of temporal punishment due to sin. May they also, with the help of Thy merciful love, resist the temptations of the evil one and strive to exercise true charity and justice toward all, so that one day they may appear sinless and holy in Thy sight. This we ask through Christ our Lord.

Response: Amen.

The medals may then be sprinkled with holy water.

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