St Benedict the African was born in 1526. His parents, Christopher and Diana, were slaves who had been taken from Africa to Sicily. Benedict became novice master and then guardian of the Franciscan Friars in Palermo. Benedict corrected the Friars with humility and charity. His gifts for prayer and the guidance of souls earned him throughout Sicily a reputation for holiness. St Benedict the African died in 1589 and was canonised in 1807. He is the patron saint of African-Americans.