Saint Brigid Religious Education
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West Hartford, CT 06110
St. Peter Damian
Feast day: November 21
Saint Peter Damian, born in 988, lost both his parents at an early age.
His eldest brother, to whose hands he was left, treated him so cruelly
that another brother, a priest, moved by his piteous state, sent him to
the University of Parma, where he acquired great distinction.
His studies were sanctified by vigils, fasts, and prayers, until at
last, thinking that all this was only serving God halfway, he resolved
to leave the world. He joined the monks of Fonte Avellano, then in the
greatest repute, and by his wisdom and sanctity rose to be Superior.
Saint Peter was called upon for the most delicate and difficult
missions, among others the reform of ecclesiastical communities, which
his zeal accomplished. Seven Popes in succession made him their constant
adviser, and he was finally created Cardinal Bishop of Ostia. He
withstood Henry IV of Germany, and labored in defense of Pope Alexander
II against an antipope, whom he forced to yield and seek pardon.
He was charged, as papal legate, with the repression of simony
and correction of scandals; again, was commissioned to settle discords
amongst various bishops; and finally, in 1072, to adjust the affairs of
the Church at Ravenna. He had never paid attention to his health, which
was at best fragile, and after enduring violent onslaughts of fever
during the night, would rise to hear confessions, preach, or sing solemn
Masses, always ready to sacrifice his well-being and life for the
salvation of the souls entrusted to him.
After succeeding in this final mission as he ordinarily did, on his
journey back to Ostia he was laid low by fever; he died at Faenza in a
monastery of his Order, on the eighth day of his sickness, while the
monks chanted Matins around him.