Followers of the Rule of St. Benedict. St. Benedict (of Nursia, 480-547). The Benedictines are one of the earliest orders, and their rule becomes the template for later rules in the orders. They were reformed at various times, as some within their midst thought they were becoming lax. Benedict's rule is a document that describes and prescribes life in the monastery (the coenobite monks). It is not a rule that prescribes a life of poverty (unlike the Franciscans), but rather of simplicity and following the Bible.