Saints and Saintly Dominicans – 23 February

detail of a painting of San Pedro Damiani, 18th century by Andrea Barbiani; currently in the Classense Library, Ravenna, Italy; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsSaint Peter Damian, Bishop, Doctor of the Church

Saint Peter Damian‘s life was devoted to two objects:

(1) He reanimated the monastic fervor of many convents in Italy, especially among the religious at Fonte-Avellane, of which he was considered the second founder. He maintained the reform of these monasteries by punishing all infractions of rule, for without this, he said, general exhortations are of little avail; but before correcting others he always prostrated in the midst and acknowledged himself a miserable defaulter. He attached great importance to corporal penances and that the religious really could do more than they thought they could in the matter of observance and of generous effort. The choral office was also an object of his greatest care and he has left two works, one on the Office, the other on the Holy Mass.

(2) He labored for the reform of the morals in the Church, for the abolition of simony, a disorder which consists in buying for money ecclesiastical dignities and even ordination. The Pope, Stephen IX, made him a bishop and cardinal, in Order to give him greater authority in the Church and especially over the clergy, but he soon renounced all honors to be more free to serve his dear friends the poor. He was one of the propagators of the devotion of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin and of the practice of consecrating Saturday to Mary.


O Blessed Virgin Mary, protect the holy Church and her august Head, called by Saint Catherine of Siena “the sweet Christ upon earth.”


Next Saturday go to Holy Communion in honor of the Blessed Virgin.