(Petrus Damiani, also Pietro Damiani or Pier Damiani -- c. 1007– February 21/22, 1072) was one of the most celebrated, universally loved and zealous reforming monks in the circle of Hildebrand of the 11th century, made a cardinal and (in 1823) declared a Doctor of the Church. Dante placed Petrus Damiani in one of the highest circles of Paradiso as a great predecessor of Saint Francis.
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
Propers for Peter Damian - 21 February - Bishop, Theologian, and Reformer
O GOD, who hast endowed thy servant Peter Damian with clarity of faith and holiness of life: Grant us to keep with steadfast minds the faith which he taught, and in his fellowship to be made partakers of eternal glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle - Wisdom 7:7-14.
I CALLED upon God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. I preferred her before sceptres and thrones, and esteemed riches nothing in comparison of her. Neither compared I unto her any precious stone, because all gold in respect of her is as a little sand, and silver shall be counted as clay before her. I loved her above health and beauty, and chose to have her instead of light: for the light that cometh from her never goeth out. All good things together came to me with her, and innumerable riches in her hands. And I rejoiced in them all, because wisdom goeth before them: and I knew not that she was the mother of them. I learned diligently, and do communicate her liberally: I do not hide her riches. For she is a treasure unto men that never faileth: which they that use become the friends of God, being commended for the gifts that come from learning.
The Gospel - St. John 17:18-23.
AS thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me though their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
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