Thursday, February 21, 2008

Saint Peter Damian

21 February
Youngest child in a large family. Orphaned. Sent to live with a brother, he was mistreated and forced to work as a swine-herd. Cared for another brother, a priest in Ravenna, Italy. Well educated in Fienza and Parma. Professor. Lived a life of strict austerity.

Gave up his teaching to become a Benedictine monk. His health suffered, especially when he tried to replace sleep with prayer. Abbot. Founded hermitage. Occasionally called on by the Vatican to make peace between arguing monastic houses, clergymen, and government officials, etc. Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia. Fought simony. Tried to restore primitive discipline among priests and religious who were becoming more and more of the world. Prolific correspondent, he also wrote dozens of sermons, seven biographies (including a one of Saint Romuald), and poetry, including some of the best Latin of the time. Tried to retire to being a monk, but routinely recalled as papal legate. Declared a Doctor of the Church in 1828.

"Let us faithfully transmit to posterity the example of virtue which we have received from our forefathers." -Saint Peter Damian
1007 at Ravenna, Italy
22 February 1072 of fever at Ravenna while surrounded by brother monks reciting the Divine Office
never formally canonized; cultus developed almost immediately after his death; cultus approved and extended to the whole Church in 1823 by Pope Leo XII
cardinal bearing a discipline in his hand; pilgrim holding a papal bull, to signify his many legations

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