Fr. Benedict Nivakoff

Benedict Nivakoff

According to Fr. Benedict Nivakoff, class of 2001, "Leslie Richardson made me a monk!" As a sophomore at Sewanee, sick of Spanish and bored with Latin, Fr. Benedict Nivakoff longed to learn a language that would bring him more than just technical knowledge. He wanted a culture. Leslie's Italian classes were lessons in how to live life, not just learn to bear it. At her urging, he made a secret trip (unknown to his parents) to Rome before his Junior year. There he discovered the beauty of Rome, and the depth of the Church. There he found the monastery, which would later become his home. He continued taking Italian classes until graduating in 2001. He packed up the few belongings allowed for the novitiate (including his well marked Italian text book) and entered the monastery of San Benedetto in Norcia where he later made solemn vows and was ordained a priest. This September will mark 12 years as a monk. Although many important people and less important places influenced his decision to become a monk, it was Italian class with Leslie Richardson which added the one thing he still needed: the inspiration.

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