The medal of Saint Benedict

Since the use of the medal of Saint Benedict is amply extended amongst exorcists, I will explain its symbolism and history. The medal presents, on one side, the image of the holy Patriarch, and on the other side, a cross. In and around this cross are the initial letters of a prayer which goes as follows:

Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti
O Cross of Holy Father Benedict

Crux Sacra Sit Mihi Lux
May the cross be a light for me

Non Draco Sit Mihi Dux
May the devil not be my guide

Vade Retro Satana
Go away!, Satan

Numquam Suade Mibi Vana
Never suggest vain things to me,

Sunt Mala Quae Libas
What you offer are evil things.

Ipse Venena Bibas
Drink your own poison.

The spreading of this medal began due to a trial for witchcraft in Bavaria, in 1647. In Natternberg, some women were on judgement for being witches and, in the process, declared that they had not been able to harm the Benedictine Abbey of Metten, because it was protected by the sign of the Holy Cross. The Abbey was searched and they found ancient paintings representing this cross, with the inscription we have mentioned before. But these mysterious initials could not be interpreted until, in a manuscript found in the library, enlightened in the same monastery of Metten in 1414 and conserved today in the Munich State Library, an image of St. Benedict was found with these same words. A previous manuscript, from the 14th century and coming from Austria, which is now in the library of Wolfenbüttel, seems to have been the origin of both the image and the text. In the 17th century, J.B. Thiers, an erudite Frenchman, considered it superstitious, because of the enigmatic characters which appear on it. However, Pope Benedict XIV approved of it in 1742 and the formula of its benediction was incorporated into the Roman Rite.