São Bento or São Bentinho, as he is called, to whom many miracles are attributed, is considered the patron saint of Europe and the patriarch of the monks of the West.
He was born in Italy, in 480, in a family of noble Christians. He gave up a privileged life to dedicate himself to religious reflection, having been in captivity for 3 years in a cave, on Monte Subiaco.
São Bento da Porta Aberta is a sanctuary located in the parish of Rio Caldo, inserted in the Peneda Gerês National Park.
The original chapel was built in 1640, dedicated to São Bento, being known as "da Porta Aberta" because it served as a shelter for travelers, always having the doors open to welcome anyone who arrived.
In 1880, works were carried out to rebuild the chapel, giving rise to the Sanctuary, which, by attracting thousands of pilgrims, has been progressively enlarged. In 1994, a crypt was built, whose works were completed in 2002. In this sanctuary, you can see tile panels that narrate important episodes in the life of São Bento.
Particularly noteworthy are the pilgrimages of the 21st of March, when the Shrine was created and when the death of São Bento is marked, on the 21st of March 547, 11th of July, the day dedicated to São Bento and 12 and 13 of August , when emigrants are in Portugal.
Behind a great faith of Catholics, there are some episodes of great prominence in the history of the Catholic Church.
One of his disciples, named Florencio, once offered him poisoned bread. São Bento then called a crow, whom he asked to take away, so that no one would find this poisoned bread, and it is for this reason that the image of São Bento is often represented with a crow nearby.
Another prominent episode of a similar nature says that an abbot from a neighboring monastery died and that the monks sought out São Bento to take his place. Some monks did not agree with this choice, and put poison in the glass of wine that Bento would drink during the ceremony. However, when he made the sign of the Cross, the wine glass broke, and a snake came out of it.
Because he was tempted several times by the devil and because he defended himself from all of them by making the sign of the Cross and saying the powerful prayer that is inscribed on his miraculous medal, São Bento is considered one of the most powerful protective saints to whom we can turn to protect ourselves from evil and to defend us from enemies.