Monday, August 10, 2020

Saints for Today: Peter Damian, Bishop & Doctor of the Church (1007-1072)

Must Read

“Ojo de Gallo”: A Nostalgic Narrative of San Rafael

This “nostalgic narrative of historic San Rafael” by Josephine Barela is being published posthumously by her friends, Margaret and...

A History of the Old Mining Missions in Cibola County NM, Part 1

By Sr. Ellen Corcoran, SCSJA and Elizabeth Kelley Our Lady of Sorrows, Seboyeta (Cebolleta), NM The following history is by Elizabeth...

What We Like About Catholic Schools, With Sr. Annie and 7th-Graders Abrianna and Kaylie

"I'm learning right along with them and I'm really happy with the school...when you walk in there it was like home."
Dr. Jean Lee
Jean M. Lee, M.A., D.Min., is a licensed behavioral health and substance abuse counselor, founding a nonprofit, state-licensed behavior health counseling agency and Christian gift/book store. Volunteer work includes: Jail ministry, Legion of Mary membership, door-to-door evangelization, and writing a weekly newspaper column titled “Faith and Inspiration: Encyclopedia of Saints for Today.” A Catholic revert after 32 years away from the Church, she is devout in the Catholic faith, loves the saints, and lives a deeper spiritual/religious and more joyful life since returning to the Church.

Feast Day: February 21

Peter Damian was born at Ravenna, Italy of a large and comparatively poor family. He lost both his parents in childhood and was placed in the care of one of his brothers, who treated him more like a slave. An elder brother, then archpriest of Ravenna, rescued him and gave him the best education he could provide. In due course Peter returned to Ravenna as a professor, already dedicated to an ascetic way of life.

In 1035 Peter left his secular professorship to embrace the eremitical life as a monk with the reformed Benedictines at Fonte Avellina. He soon became head of that community, governing with a strictness gloved in kindness that prepared him for his wider service in the Church. His studies at the monastery now consisted of Scripture and patristic theology, which he pursued with the same zeal and thoroughness which he had previously devoted to secular studies. As abbot, he taught his hermits the ideals of the Desert Fathers, told bishops they should pray without ceasing, and suggested to the abbot of Cluny that its monks should fast more. Peter had a great devotion to the image of Christ on the cross and to the motherhood of Mary, prefiguring the “modern devotion” of the later Middle Ages.

The state of the Church was so critical at this time that Peter was soon called on to direct his energies into a wider field. First his eloquent voice was heard at the synods of Italy held by reforming popes like Leo IX. He reproved bishops, spoke against simony (the buying or selling of ecclesiastical privileges) and clerical marriage, and he rebuffed monasteries for laxity. As bishop of Ostia and a cardinal after 1057, he vigorously opposed antipopes and went on diplomatic missions throughout Europe supporting the cause of church renewal. He was firmly convinced that a reformed papacy was essential for the future of the church. Thus he helped prepare the way for the work of St. Gregory VII. In 1059 he took part in the Lateran synod which proclaimed the right of the cardinals alone to elect the future bishops of Rome.

Peter Damian was also concerned with revitalizing the faith of ordinary believers. One of his prescriptions for a revitalized Christian life was frequent reception of the Eucharist, as he once wrote to a friend:

“Receive the body and blood of Christ frequently that you may deserve to hear his words: ‘Your lips, my promised bride, distill wild honey. Honey and milk are under your tongue’. (Song of Songs 4:11 NJB).”

Peter died in a monastery on his way home from one last embassy to reconcile factions in the diocese of Ravenna. He was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1828 for his preaching and writing in the cause of Church reform.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
Burns, Paul. “Butler’s Saint for the Day.” (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2007).
Farmer, David. “Oxford Dictionary of Saints.” (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011).
Ghezzi, Bert. “Voices of the Saints.” (Chicago: Loyola Press, 2000).

Featured Image: Wikimedia Commons

Comments

comments

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News

audio

CC071: The Importance of Marriage

What makes the sacrament of marriage so beautiful, and how can couples navigate the challenges and joys that come from a lifelong commitment to one another?

Advertisement

Other recent stories:

From addict to the diaconate

Marty Smith was on a literal road to death - until the night he saw the Devil. That encounter changed his life forever.

Where to give and receive help during the Coronavirus

Are you in need of help, or would you like to give back in some way to your local community? Contact any of these organizations.

Meet the Diocese’s New Director of Religious Education

The Director of Religious Education oversees mission work, youth ministry, and catechesis for the whole diocese.

One Loss, One Win: Supreme Court Prioritizes Abortion in One Case but Supports Religious Education in Another

The U.S. Bishops spoke out against one ruling and in favor of another.

Advertisement

More Articles Like This

Comments

comments