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St. Peter Damian

The medieval Italian bishop St. Peter Damian( 1007 -1 072) was born in Ravenna, where his mothers died when he was still young. Peter was first left with an older brother, who was very unkind and neglectful; later another brother cared for him, and was organised by him to be well educated. Peter became a professor, and in 1035 he met the Benedictine Order.

Peter soon gained a honour for being charitable to the poor; it was his custom to invite one or two poor persons to share his meals. In the convent Peter practiced severe punishments, get long periods without food or sleep and spending hours in prayer.

Eventually Peter became abbot of the monastery and dedicated himself to fostering spiritual reform and renewal. The pope frequently asked him to mediate in disputes involving different monasteries or disagreements between local religious and government officials. Peter was then constituted bishop of Ostia( the port metropoli of Rome ), where he was forceful in his efforts at reform; he rebuilt discipline among his clergy and promoted a simpler, more spiritual life for his people.

He wrote numerous characters and harangues, but throughout this period he desired to return to the celibate life. This request was finally awarded, but he was still called to serve as a papal legate from time to time. After returning from one such assignment, Peter was overcome by a fever. With his monks gleaned around him in petition, St. Peter Damian died on February 22, 1072; in 1828 he was declared a Doctor( an foremost and reliable professor) of the Church.

Lessons

1. Personal ordeals of digesting should oblige us likable to others in need; St. Peter’s difficult childhood constructed him particularly mindful of the poor and lowly.

2. Holiness requires us to be both house and gentle. St. Peter had a reputation for being quite impatient and critical with those who made religion casually, but he could also be very consoling and encouraging to those experiencing difficulty or sorrow.

From Johnnette Benkovic’s Graceful Living: Reflections to Help You Grow Closer to God Day by Day

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” In tranquillity, look forward to the joy that follows sadness. Hope guides you to that exultation and cherish enkindles your verve .”

–From a note of St. Peter Damien

Johnnette’s Meditation

The letter to the Hebrews tells us that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”( 11:1 ). How does this help me live out the advice of St. Peter Damien?

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