Here’s a neat little story by Julia Duin about the son of Jem Sullivan – named Benedict. Michael’s worked with Jem on the study guide for the Adult Catechism, which she wrote – and she gave us a very nice tour of some high points of religious art in the National Gallery a couple of years ago.
It all started in October 2004, and she and her husband, Scott, traveled to Italy for an art exhibition. They decided to go to Subiaco, the Italian site where the original Saint Benedict — at the age of 14 — lived as a hermit in the late fifth century before he began founding monasteries.
“We always had a fondness for St. Benedict,” she told me. “We fell in love with the place. It was mountainous and absolutely breathtaking. On this amazing hill, you have carved into the rock the actual cave in which he lived. We were in that cave and we looked at each other and said, ‘That’s the name of our son.”
Five months later, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger picked Benedict as his new name. In August 2005, a little boy was born in Guatemala. He eventually came north to live with the Sullivans.
“There is a Catholic tradition of naming your child after the present pope and there are a lot of boys named John Paul,” his mom told me. “I am fascinated by the fact the pope picked the name Benedict which gives us a great insight into his papacy and the kind of issues that are important to him.”