Monday, February 21, 2011

St. Peter Damian, Bishop, Doctor of the Church - A Weekend in the Sun

The Church today permits an optional memorial of St. Peter Damian

St. Peter Damian was born in 1007, and was left an orphan as a little child. He was taken in by an older brother who abused and starved him. Another brother named Damian became aware of the boy's real situation. He brought him to his own home. It was then that Peter's life took on a whole new direction. He was treated with love, affection and care. So grateful was he that when he became a religious he took the name Damian after his loving brother. Damian educated Peter and encouraged his studies.

Peter eventually taught at the university while he was in his twenties. He was thought of as a great teacher. But the Lord was directing him in ways he could never have thought of.

Peter lived in times when many in the Church were too influenced by secular goals. Peter realized that the Church is divine and has the grace from Jesus to save all people. He wanted the Church to shine with the holiness of Jesus.

After seven years of teaching, he made the decision to become a monk. He wanted to live the rest of his life in prayer and penance. He would pray and sacrifice so that many people in the Church would become holy. He went to a monastery of St. Romuald.

Peter Damian wrote a rule for the monks. He also wrote a life of their holy founder, Romuald. Peter wrote many works of theology to help people deepen their faith. Twice his abbot sent him to neighbouring monasteries. He helped the monks begin reforms that would encourage them to live closer to God. The monks were grateful because Peter was so kind and respectful.

Peter was finally called from the monastery. He became a bishop and a cardinal. He was sent on very important missions for various popes throughout his long life.

St. Peter Damian died in 1072 at the age of sixty-five. Because he was a champion of truth and a peacemaker, he was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1828. The poet Dante (who lived from 1265 to 1321) recognized the greatness of St. Peter Damian. In his poem, the "Divine Comedy," Dante places Damian in the "seventh heaven." That was his place for holy people who loved to think about or contemplate God.

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After the Bishops Convention in Dallas, I travelled to Tampa to spend a few days with my sister Marion and brother-in-law John Baysfield near San Antonio, Florida. The flora and fauna are delightful and the sisters and parishioners of St. Anthony's Parish were most hospitable (the pastor was away, and his substitute was Fr. Peter Groulx, a retired priest and "snowbird" fromThunder Bay diocese).

Having enjoyed some sunny weather, walks and talks and rest, I am returning today to tackle the backlog at the office, grateful for this short winter breather. 

Some pix: 

The Franciscan Sisters of St. Elizabeth invited Father Peter, my sister and me to Saturday breakfast

The 9 o'clock Sunday Mass is in the Extraordinary Form (in Latin); the purple vestments for Septuagesima Sunday remind the faithful that Lent is drawing near.

The 10:30 Mass is in the Ordinary Form (in English), I was invited to preside at it.

1 comment:

  1. St Peter Damian pray for us. An excellent correcter of the abuses of his age.