Monastic History

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Monastic History Class, Italy 10th Century

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Today, I think we'll finish early, because I don't want to go into the Cistercians until we get a full period, and this may, then again we might not have been early. I'm immersed in this stuff, I'm Peter Damian and Ronnie right now, so there might be a lot of side comments that get lengthy at times. What we want to do is we want to look at Italy now. Now we're going to backtrack just a little bit. What happens in Italy, Italy at the end of the 10th century is at its worst period, church wise, church history wise, for morality. Just to give you the general picture. Oh, there was somebody else here, sorry. It's at its lowest end. Simony is rampant.


In fact, here's your first side note. In the Life of Peter Damian by John of Lodhi, there is a chapter just on a papal-legged trip he makes. He's appointed by the Pope to go to Milano and clean up the situation. We're talking about hundreds and hundreds of priests and some bishops in Milano and its environs. When he goes there, he discovers, much to his horror, that there wasn't anyone ordained who hadn't been simonotical. That is, you buy your office. You buy your bishop. Bishopric. You want to be a priest? You pay. Get enough. You're ordained. Well, it's heresy. And it validates everything. So he went into a situation where they had been doing this for years. Everybody was. And so all the baptisms, all the, you know, just a mess.


Just a mess. This is not isolated, what was going on in Milano in the 1050s, 1060s. Not at all. Italy is just rampant. And this is a whole century of it. Romuold has it in his day, in earlier times. Peter Damian deals with it in his entire ecclesiastical career. And so do others. Nicolaitism. You know what Nicolaitism is? Have you run into that before? This is the other baby in the time of Romuold and Peter Damian. This is where the relatives, if they've got blood pool, then you're given privileges and stuff like that. You're given a, you're made a bishop because you're my cousin, or whatever, you know. And this is a little harder to, both of these you have to prove, of course, and they're not always easy to prove. Same as nepotism? Yeah, yeah. It's a shade of that.


Unless I'm mixing things up. Does anyone else know anything about Nicolaitism? I could be mixing that up. It seems to me it's an Italian shade of nepotism. Many, many, let's say maybe half the clergy have mistresses, or they're living openly with wives and children. And the other half... When did celibacy really come in in the Western Church? Off and on, off and on. So... You mean officially where you had to be celibate? Yeah, yeah. Ooh, which council? Lateran maybe? Fourth Lateran? Lateran. With the church it wasn't that far. No. I think it was Fourth Lateran. But I can't be sure of that. So marriage was still allowed at this time? No. No, it's verboten, but it's not where you say there's absolutely no possibility for this to happen.


Because up until now, it's sort of like church discipline. It goes into the same category as whether women are ordained or not. Okay? That's not a matter of doctrine. That's a matter of church discipline. And how the tradition is being lived out. And it depends on who's pope and who's in the council and all of that. So, in other words, that sort of thing could change. Even though over the centuries, people have tried to lard it with all kinds of theological arguments. I'm talking about what you're doing. All kinds of theological arguments and dogma and all that stuff. Really, when it boils down to it, you're talking about the church discipline. Well, the church discipline, even if it isn't infallible, it's what people are living and what the rules are. And so the rules are that way at this point. It hasn't been dealt a death blow in the sense that, as far as I know, you haven't had councils come out and try dogmatically this and that.


And it's just been a matter of discipline. And you had all throughout the centuries local synods in the various countries dealing with this problem. After the third, fourth centuries, it's understood that there isn't a Mary clergy anymore in the West. But it doesn't take long before, any time when the morality goes down, you have people flaunting the situation. A large number of others at this particular time in Italian ecclesiastical life were involved in active homosexuality. And this is a problem that Peter Damian deals with head on in his ecclesiastical ministry. In fact, one of his major texts describes in great detail what these people are doing. We now have it in English. It's the Book of Gomorrah.


The Book of Gomorrah. And we got two copies of it? There's one of the layers of it. It's a single copy that we got. Yeah. I meant that new one, that single copy. With somebody studying it in doctoral things. About two years. And there's a lot of sodomy and mutual masturbation and stuff like that going on that he writes about. And people are upset. And he has to deal with a lot of this with the Church of Italy. So you've got a situation where anything seems to be going. The local people, the people of God, are kind of jaded regarding church life and morals. What is the word I want? Skeptical? More than that. Fed up. And that's the situation our three saints today come into in their life.


Now, the reforms that they bring about and that their followers develop are working at the same time as most of these other reforms I've been talking about. At least in their beginning stages. So you'd have to look for dates and stuff to see when in this lifetime what was going on at Bohm and Guigny and Fleury and whatnot. But we're talking about basically a couple of centuries where all of this is happening. And these reforms are independent of what we've talked about so far. These are just in Italy, and Italy's doing its own thing. And even though Cluny, in its later period, or its high middle period, will move into Italy and get some of the Italian big monasteries and whatnot involved in their reform, you have this whole other movement, monastic movement, going on in Italy. And it's different. These are different and more aramidical.


Also remember, as with the Cluny, so with the other reforms, they're always overlapping. Great buddies were Peter Damien and Odo of Cluny. In fact, one of the lives that Peter Damien writes, that we haven't met yet, he writes four lives. One of them is of St. Dominic Loicato. One is the life of St. Romuald. One is the life of Rudolfo. No, one of our Rudolfi. There's a number of Rudolfi. And Odo of Cluny, the one he went and visited at Cluny. Lots of overlapping, but different reforms and different things going on. Okay. Romuald was the son of the duke, Ravenna. And his blood was from Lombard.


A couple centuries back, that's nasty. You don't talk about it. After all, what they did to the monasteries and whatnot, Lombard, when they came in. But now, I mean, they're the nobility in this area of Italy. And basically, the early environs for Romuald are Ravenna and Venezia, right in there. But it's not at all, he was all over the place, all over the place during his lifetime. He grew up without education. He wasn't all that interesting. He walked a lot in the forest. He was not a scholar in any sense of the word. And because he had money and property, and was his father's son, he was into pleasure.


And he just had a lot of pleasure in his youth, and he wasn't into school. At one point, his father has a duel with one of his cousins over property lines. And Romuald's father forces Romuald to be his second at the duel, where Romuald witnesses, and is helpless to prevent, the slaughter of his second cousin by his own father. One of the penitential practices at that time regarding duels, this is how duels were common, and will be common for centuries all over the earth. It's just the way of handling a situation. The one who lives, wins. A penitential practice for dueling was to spend 40 days and 40 nights in a monastery, after you've killed someone.


Romuald was so horrified by the death and that situation, that he went to a monastery, and did a 40-dayer in the name of his father, for his father. He was so upset about this. Well, Romuald decided he liked it there. Well, sort of. At first he liked it. And he stayed on, and he asked to become a member of the community. And this is where his monastic career began, in a quote-unquote Benedictine community, because at this time, you know, the time of Benedictine order as such, in Ravenna, where things are not monastically the best.


And, by the way, parenthetically, next year I will be giving a full course on Camaldolese history, and so we'll go on into all of this in great detail. Not into all the foundations, we're talking about hundreds of monasteries, just like Cluny, with Romualdian reform, you end up with hundreds of monasteries. But we'll hit the key biographies and parts of historical houses and whatnot. Anyway, I will digest this stuff. He gets out of there because, as is usual with reformers, they're not at all appreciated in the houses they begin with. Remember, Benedict wasn't either. Because they tend to be going in not only with first fervor, but they have fervor that gets more fervorous, more fervent as the time goes on,


and they become a pain in the butt for everybody else, in the sense that they're living it to the hilt, and nobody else really is interested at that point. I mean, they're just living what they can together, or they're living so that they don't have to do certain things. And this is, again, the kind of situation of lax community that Romuald finds himself in. And so he spends a couple years there, but gets out of there. It's important to remember, though, that during these early years, even though Romuald gets out of there, he looks to the abbot of Santa Polinare as his superior. He put that in quotes. Because one of Romuald's principles are going to be under an abbot, under a rule, what becomes known as, for the phrase, the sensible hermits. The sensible hermits, who are the sons of Romuald,


are those who put themselves under an abbot and under a rule. And so he himself is going to, even though, well, that's not true. He will go back to Santa Polinare later on when he's not the abbot. But that was a short life experience also. So he gets out of there, and he decides to go live out in the woods near Ravenna with a rather infamously eccentric and yet very holy man named Marino, or Marinus in Latin. And he's with Marino for his first aramidical experience, sort of like a master-disciple type relationship, like the Egyptian deserts. For a few years, until the point, the famous point, when the doge of Venice, Pietro Orseolo,


our own Saint Peter Orseolo, calls both of them to the doge's palace in Venice, along with Guarino, I mentioned yesterday, of Cuxa, Guarino Cuxan, C-U-S-S-A-N. It's pronounced that way because it has something to do with the Basque. It's like a pseudo-Basque area. The S, the X sound is a sh. I usually say Cuxa until I heard somebody who knew what they were doing say Cuxa. After 12 years of saying it, come on. Don has been there. Don Delroy has been there. He says it's a marvelous church there in the abbey. A sunken old primitive crypt. Have you been there? Cuxa? Anybody? We have a little book on Cuxa. We put it into the library last year. Somebody was there.


We have a little guidebook with pictures. I should have brought it. Anyway, Guarino is coming back from pilgrimage. He goes in there with these other two. The doge is all repentant about what he did. He wants to be a monk. He ends up leaving his wife, his son, and political power being owed to Venice. Scandalous out of there in the dark of night, evidently, with Romuald, Guarino, Marino, and his personal valet. What is his name? Not Pepino. I'm sorry, I'm forgetting. Maybe Benedetto. Or Giovanni. They all go to Cuxa.


Just outside Cuxa. We're talking about all the way across northern Italy, down into southern France, on the border with Spain and France. They just hike there. Romuald has been doing this all his life. He's had a tremendous constitution. And they go there, and they set up an hermetical little community outside of the other community of Cuxa. And they live as hermits next to the community. And Guarino, of course, is the abbot of Cuxa. And he's sort of like in both. This is the man, remember, I mentioned yesterday. Who, in what context? He helped bring the Cluniac reform into Italy later on.


There's another overlapping there, because he's really Romuald. But there are some of these overlappings, and they help one another. Relationships with one another. And they're there for about four years, and it's just really great. And until they get to the point where Romuald receives word that his father, back in Ravenna, is going to leave the monastery. Eh, what? Romuald's father had become a monk during these intervening years. And he was at a point where he wanted to just toss in the towel. He was going through a bad period. And Romuald felt he had to go back there and save his father's vocation. So Romuald announces that he's going to leave the group and go back to his father, and da-da-da-da-da. The monks of Cuxa, by this time, love Romuald.


He is their hermit abbot. They don't want to let him go. And they get to the point where there's even a sub-conspiracy, at least some members of the community, to murder Romuald to prevent him from going, and then get his bones and have a pilgrimage center. This is not uncommon in the Middle Ages, either. But he gets out of there by feigning insanity. Romuald feigns that he goes nuts, and he sort of just wanders off and skedaddles back to Ravenna. That's the story. We don't know how much of this part is history or not, but we do know that he was beloved there, the community just loved him. So he goes back to Ravenna. The others don't go. Well, one went with him. While they're there, Cuxa, a couple others join him.


I'm going to get into all kinds of sidetracks if I'm not careful. But others join him. He's always drawing all kinds of people to him, and one went back with him, and that's Benedetto, who becomes the famous Benedetto who is one of the five brothers who dies in Poland. Okay? Anyway, I'm not going to get into all of that. But they go back to Ravenna, and he saves his father's vacation, da-da-da-da-da. And Maureno stays at Cuxa. Maureno decides he wants to go down to, where is it, he wanted to go down to Subiaco or something like that. On his way, he gets slaughtered by pirates, pirati. Well, pirati can mean either pirates or just brigands or thieves or whatever, so not necessarily from the sea. But he gets murdered down there. Peter Orseolo had already died before Romuald left Cuxa. He had died a very holy death


and very esteemed by all while they were at Cuxa. Okay, Romuald, Romuald there, so Romuald's back, back in near Ravenna. While he was at Cuxa, he finally gets some education. Thank God Cuxa, we're into education. And he studied mainly the Fathers of the Desert tradition while he's there, as well as scripture, of course. But he devoted himself to a study of monastic literature while he was there. John Cashin also studied the conferences. And he didn't, while he was at Cuxa, he didn't adopt the Cluniac monasticism. See, Cuxa at this time,


there's a relationship between Cuxa and Cluny that I alluded to yesterday. Later on, Guarino's going to spread it even more. Be instrumental in that in Italy. But he could appreciate what was going on there, but his thing was much more different, much more specific with the Aramidical. He really was, his real model were those Abbas of the Desert, the whole desert experience. And so his ongoing journey of discernment, for years, he's going to gel together what becomes the Rewaldian setup, the tripartite thing. But at least in the beginning, the Hermitage and Zenobia together, with the possibility of evangelization Paganaro,


of the unbelievers. So Zenobia, Hermitage, missionary. That's the tri-fold advantage or tri-fold good or three-fold good of the Rewaldian setup in the beginning. I'm not talking about our tripartite, different kinds of houses we have. Okay, that's later. Okay. He begins an incredible journey. Maybe we're not going to get down to that. An incredible journey spanning over the years where he builds monasteries everywhere. Scores and scores and scores of them. Just near Sitria, near Mount Katria,


where Fonte Avabana, that area there. You can walk from monastery to, from ruins to ruins. They just had, every valley had its Rewaldian monastery, either Hermitage or Zenobia, or both, next to one another. He just got things started, got them building, stayed there a few months, started another one, went back and forth, got them established, moved on, got them building all over the place. What did he use for a rule? Did he use the army? Yes, but he had to make some adaptations because of his own historical ideal, which implemented an eruditism into that. But yes, he believed in the regula,


that his monasteries would all have the regula and abbots. Okay. Or priors, abbots. It wasn't a big thing for him. Most of them were abbots. And during these years, when he's founding houses and whatnot, other monasteries are asking for his monks to go teach them and get them involved in the Rewaldian movement, or whole monastic communities are coming over and joining the Rewaldian movement. Okay? Now, there's some controversy in which houses already existed, and he went into them and turned them over, started them up again, and which ones he actually built. A number of them, a large number, an incredible number he actually built with his monks and local workers. And he'd go into an area, and the people would welcome him. He already had a reputation. And every time he'd go into an area, they'd throw a parade, throw a party,


and then they'd say, where do you want us to build a monastery? And they would build it with him. And they would give him land, a count would come and give him land, and then give him another monastery. Everybody wanted their Rewaldian monastery. It's disputed whether he built Fonte Avellano or not. Fonte Avellano might have been, and I haven't done my own research hitting all the angles and the various sides yet. I can't really do that till the fall. But I know there are two sides to this question, of whether it was actually built there, and he went in and influenced them and whatever, had a relationship, or whether he actually built it and started it, then left, and it went on its own, and then came back into the picture later on, off and on. Even though Fonte Avellano, as we will see,


will become a mother house of its own movement, and you don't have an order of Romuald as such, you know, right in those early years. That all happens during the century, ensuing centuries of history, as the church says, where you've got to band together, you've got to have constitutions, you've got to have, you have to have regular annual chapters, you know. Then you've got to formalize stuff. Once it's formalized on paper, and approved by the Pope, then you've got the beast you're talking about. But until then, you don't have that. And Fonte Avellano becomes its own grouping, even though it was either in parallel with Romuald and Camaldoli, or converging with them. Certainly it was parallel time-wise. It becomes its own congregation. It isn't until the 1500s that it comes into ours, maybe 15th century, that it comes into what is then Camaldoli's. So they're the Avellaniti


before that time. They're their own order, their own congregation. But he's all over the place, and he's involved with all of these people. Okay. This is another house he built. In a swamp. That's of historical significance. He built all kinds of... It's very important. Citria. It's very important. We'll talk about that in the next course. He has his ups and downs. Believe me. Romuald is as beloved as he is by his monks. Even his own monks in his movement get tired of him, because he's so hard. I mean, he wants to live as the Abbas in the desert, and he wants everybody to do that. Even though he had compassion,


and he would always moderate for others if they needed. There wasn't anything like that. He was just so hard on himself, and it was hard for everybody to live up to that ideal. He sort of learned his compassion and his moderation as time... In the beginning years, some of his monks died from the austerities. They just couldn't... But he was at one time whipped by his own monks. At one time, he was jailed for six months. This is at the end of his life. The end of his life. He's accused by a real lecher. One of his monks is a real lecher. He's accused of the lechery. He beats Romuald to the punch. And there he is, 70 years old, and they all believe it. They all believe it. And they throw him in prison and withhold the sacraments for six months. He can't celebrate Mass for six months, and he's in a solitary cell.


And he doesn't say anything. He just sort of smiles and goes... He wanted the solitude. He was not happy with the lack of sacraments, but he just felt that this is meant to be part of my journey, and that's what's going to be at the end of his life. But he has all these ups and downs in his own communities with his own people. Very fascinating, fascinating history. Towards the end of his life... Well, not towards the end. Not towards the end. Still 10, 15 years before he died. Camaldoli comes into existence, where he's over in Tuscany, and he builds that. And there's a number of them in Tuscany, of course, that get built as well. Wherever he goes, there's just not one place he's founded. He tries to go to follow his martyrs, his early wave of martyrs in Poland. Follow them into the missionary field with the


Magyars in Hungary. He tries twice, and he gets really sick on the way. And they just determined this is a sign he's not supposed to go on. Because as soon as he turns around, how much time he gets miraculously healthy. Turned around again a second time, saying, this is obviously a sign that I am meant to go. They start on their way again, and he gets the same thing all over again. And then he's called back by a Pope, so he never gets to Hungary. But he let all of his people, he had like 20-some monks with him in that one band, on their way to Hungary, decide what they wanted to do. And they split up at that point. There's a lot of freedom in those days, regarding that. Split up in a sense that some went off to the missions and others went, founded a monastery and some went back with him. There is sense. How did he come out and get to be so central? I don't know the


ins and outs of all that yet. I just haven't studied enough of the history of that house itself yet. I'll be doing that during April. He started to get it established. The Hermitage and the monastery. Often he was building one or the other. And there could be nearby another the opposite kind of house, or whatever. But it's really a commodity that you get this massive model of what's going to become the Romualdian way. And that is the synovium where you begin, where you start, you get trained, and after four years minimum, I think, you can move into the Hermitage. Always remaining open to the possibility of the missions. That scene is even a further


step. As he put it, the threefold good is you have the synovium for the young ones coming in from the world. You have the Hermitage for the more mature I'm thinking of the Latin Sorry, it's going on. The mature who want to grow and be with Christ alone. And you have the evangelization of the pagans, the missionary field for those who want to end it all. That is martyrdom we're talking about. For those who want to live with Christ alone. Con Cristo solamente. And so that's the threefold plan he's got. And it's stated a number of times in the lives that we have of Ronald and the


Five Brothers. He's a very passionate man, very visionary. He had a lot of charisms for seeing into people, for seeing the future, winning people over, drawing all kinds of people to him. A very charismatic individual. He had a great constitution for austerity. He lived that. He was kind of a strange person also. He would go for long periods and just go out and hike into the swamp and they wouldn't see him for a year and a half. He'd come out, as the story goes, green and bloated and unrecognizable. And they didn't know what was wrong with him. He'd just go off in these periods and live in nature and be a hermit. And then he'd go off and campaign


and fight seminical bishops and do all this, found 14 more monasteries and go into the woods for a year. His longest period of reclusion was seven years. Seven years, and that was at Zitria. Which is just below just below Fonte Avalona. Gerard, that's the one I was telling you about where the thieves broke in and stole columns off of the altar. When we went there, I went there with Alessandro, not the Alessandro you know, the older one from Montejosa, and we had to get the key and unlock the church. The church is there, and a couple other ruins, but most of the monastery is gone. And it's this ancient monastery, and the ancient church is just wonderful, and there's this beautiful, beautiful altar. It had ancient Roman columns holding it, and the archaeologists thieves, they break into places like this


and steal what's authentic, and they hack the columns off. So there are other columns on there right now. But anyway, there's this horse rancher who's living on the property, and he would start an argument again all of a sudden. Because this guy, I said, what's going on? He said, this guy is haranguing again, he wants to stable his horse's cattle in the church, and he's tired of the church, that is the people of God, telling him he can't do this, because you're not using it anyway. It's just ruined. At least you can let my horses sleep in there. Anyway, it was here that Romuald lived his longest period of seclusion. He had a hermit cell, he lived there for seven years, almost seven years. I don't need to read the little rule of Romuald, you all have copies of that. He was a real peripatetic person. He was just into everything all over the place,


and he was ruled by his urges and his emotions and his charisms, and he went with them, he always trusted, he was very intuitive, and he always trusted his intuitions. He wasn't out to start an order as such, he was out to give a new kind of monasticism, so that monasticism itself can be reformed with this new vision. That's what he's doing. He isn't trying to start his own Romuald order, but that's what eventually is. But by the time of his death, the Romualdian movement, it's very widespread. Lots and lots of people and houses. There's nothing new in what Romuald's doing in the history of the church. That is, we've had lauras before, there have always been lauras, laure, excuse me,


we've had synobia, we've had missionary work, but we've never had all of them put together in one ideal before. This is just sort of a jelling of things, and an odd one at that. I mean, that evangelization of the pagans is always makes people go, whoop. We're talking about synobia into the hermitage and out to the mission fields to be a martyr. It's just it's very different. It's not what you'd usually expect in a monastic ideal. Even the abbot of Monte Cassino left his abbey and joined the Romualdian movement. But there are also many, many opponents to the Romualdian movement. I mean, he always had enemies. Some of them in his own community. Always had outside enemies and monastic enemies as well


because of his ideas. To lessen the burden on his monasteries, before he died at one point, he began, he instituted the converse. Converse. This is what we know in our own century as lay brothers. This is a whole different category within the monastic world. And for centuries they created their own little office in their own little chapel and they worked all day. They did all the hard work. They brought in the food. Okay. We're going to talk in the next chapter. Next week we will talk about the development of conversing. But it already had its roots in Romuald. The Cistercians are going to just go wild with it.


But already in Romuald you have the roots of what become the lay brothers. Okay. Blessed Rudolf, who's the fourth general of Camaldoli. Rudolfo here is the one who he's the legislator. He brings out the constitutions. The Camaldoli's constitutions of Rudolfo. And there we have the real beginning of what, what do you mean by the Romualdi movement? Here it is. Here it is. You've got a document to look at. So he was the fourth abbot of Camaldoli. Yeah. Anything on Romuald? Any questions? Comments? Before I move to Peter David. Which Rudolfos


year? How much? Right around 1100. 1102 the constitution. So after these guys are all dead. But not too long after 25 years after Peter David. No, it's Peter David and John Valvertier died just about the same time. Yeah. Was it primarily in France, Spain, you mentioned Hungary, Poland? Are those the countries primarily where Romuald found places? Or are there other countries too? Well, you know, within a generation or so you've got some in Germany. You certainly have Germans


right from the beginning involved. I don't know yet. I haven't gotten to that point where I could say, name all the countries where houses that actually belonged to the Romualdian movement existed. Certainly the vast majority of them are in Italy. You can take any city in Italy. In fact, I've got a couple books up in my cell. You look under Venetian, there are the 14 Camaldoli's houses listed. Rome, you know, another 10 there. Little, little teeny cities with 6 or 7. Incredible. Now many of them just had 2 or 3 hermits, that's all they had. Just little hermitages. But they each had their own big church. But mostly in Italy. You will have them in France later on for a while. Of course, with Napoleon it just all gets extinguished. We still have a


house of nuns, but our history of nuns is totally different. They're not really part of the order until just recently. Some of them are. They're under bishops. Their diocese is there. What was Rome's reason for bringing in the lay brothers? Was it the development of the liturgy? No, it was to give the hermits more solitude time. So they wouldn't have to be out raking or planting or harvesting half their days and being too dead tired to pray and go through their austerities themselves. It wasn't just giving free time, lackadaisical approach. It was real. But they needed somebody because they're self-sufficient. They needed to get their food somehow. Were they successful at all in their missionary work each time they all arrived? I suppose I'm asking that in a strange way because probably they already knew what they wanted. It was. But when would they do it


if they were successful? The only ones I know of so far, one of the, you know, it's going to develop in these countries, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary and whatnot. There are going to be foundations later on. In fact, at the time of Ambrogio Traversari, his arch opponent, the Council of Florence, the arch opponent within the Order, is another commodity from Prague. Czechoslovakia. Prague. Jerome of Prague. And they go at it head to head. Ambrogio is the general of the Order stationed in Florence, where the Council is for the ecumenical movement. So there are foundations that are made, but the ones you really know about are these ones who were martyred. The five brothers and then Bruno Boniface himself. Bruno Bonifacio who was martyred


near Lithuania, Russia. Kiev. There are different names of that. The Duchy of Kiev and what becomes Lithuania. At one point, Lithuania is a massive country for about two centuries. Some half of Russia. Our congregation is still strong in Poland. They have all kinds of houses in Poland, or did. They're about the same size as us, but they're not getting vocations right now, except in Poland. But the real famous ones who went into the fields are the ones who died, besides Jerome of Prague. Okay. Peter Damian. Peter Damian, I finished translating now. I'm typing up his life. Fascinating person. Very different from


Romerode. Again, he's another one from Rovenna. Although Peter Damian, unlike Romerode, was not of the middle class at most. Lower middle class probably. And was born into a rather poverty-stricken situation. He was one of many, many children. The last one, in fact. And was an unwanted child in the early period. Lost his parents I'm going to skip all kinds of things. Lost his parents when he was very, very young and was taken over, taken care of by one of his brothers, who was a tyrant, and treated him like a slave. And a very demeaning life he had. He could not eat the food they ate, or a potato,


or clothes. He was treated like a slave. Until he was rescued by another brother, who had become a cleric in Rovenna, named Damian. And he found out about this situation, took the young Peter under his wing, set him up in school, gave him an education, and that's how he took on his own brother's name as his second name, Peter Damian. That's how that comes into play. And was forever grateful to that brother for the education, because he discovered in his, and he was already much older than the other students in education, because he wasn't able to get any until that point. So it's like having an eleven-year-old, or six-year-olds or something. But he became, in a very short


period, a renowned teacher. And taught in Rovenna for a while. But even while he was living in Rovenna, he studied in Fiance and Parma, during his education. He was a teacher in Rovenna, and during that time he was already starting to live pathetically. And he was having a lot of sexual problems. And he would get up in the middle of the night and go out and stand in cold mountain streams, or not mountain streams, cold rivers and streams, praying the entire psalter, I feel Celtic thing, until his blood settled down. And then he would walk around in the night, walk around to all the churches and the holy places, and pray. And this was a common thing for him.


He was teaching during the day. And he got to the point where he had beggars at his table. He had lots of money, evidently, after teaching a lot. And he gave it all lavishly, took care of orphans. Anyway, he met a couple monks traveling from Fonte Avalon. They were on their way for some mission. And Peter came with them, and he invited them over, and they had a nice talk. And at the end of this, he gave them a present to take back to the Abbot of Fonte Avalon. And it was a silver goblet or a chalice, a very heavy one, very expensive. And the monks of Fonte Avalon, who were known to be very, very ascetical and did not have anything silver on the server, said, no, please. That's so heavy, and we haven't even gotten the first leg of our trip. We have to carry that heavy thing all the way back. And what are we going to do with it?


And so he said, can't you give us something little and practical for the Abbot? And Peter David was so amazed by this, and so struck by this, that he decided that was a place he wanted to see. And he asked them if they thought their Abbot would be open to taking him into the community, if they thought it was right. And they said, well, why don't you come take a look? And so down the road, he does that. And he has his ups and downs in the early years, but very quickly becomes a very powerful figure at Fonte Avalon. In no time at all, he becomes the, I guess within eight years, he became the prior. But during those early years, other monasteries asked for him. In fact, one of them had him for two years. It's sort of like during his juniorit, or right afterwards, like after he'd been in about four or five years, they asked, wrote his Abbot, and said, please


send Peter Damien over to us so we can be educated monastically. And so he went and spent two years with this one community. I forget the name of it. Maybe San Silvestro? I don't know. I don't remember right now. And that was a harbinger of things to come, because once he became the prior, he started a massive foundation program, building monasteries all over the place. He went on these trips and would take a flock of monks later on with him, and they'd go on this trip. He'd drop three off here, get them started. They'd start building there. Moved on, five here, build a hermitage here. You know, sort of like mirroring what Romuald was doing, or what he did. Romuald and Peter Damien don't know one another. Peter Damien knows of Romuald. He ends up writing a letter to Romuald that he did not know in person.


What we know of Peter Damien basically comes from Saint John of Lodi. John of Lodi, who becomes the disciple of Peter Damien, and becomes the prior of San Giovanni after Peter Damien. And the monks ask him to write the life of Peter Damien, which we know a lot of the details because of what Lodi collected. Lodi went around and collected, because of course, towards the end of his life, or the second half of his life, Peter Damien's made a bishop, cardinal bishop of Ostia. He's cut papal legged all over the place and whatnot, mainly against his will. And so John of Lodi had to collect details from all over the place, from people who lived with him here, who knew him here, in order to get things for the life. He had ready hand facts from Fonte Avalana itself, people who had lived with him in the early


years, that sort of thing. But during the church years, he had to go around collecting. We have, what do we have of Peter Damien? We have a number of our collections. We have the Minia, of course, which has all of his works in Latin. We have we have Italian volumes, we have some French volumes, we have one English, now two English, that little Viberga Mora, and then a selection of his works done by Phyllis McGinnis, or McGillis. Now we have, coming out from Catholic University, what is to be a five-volume set. It's in the Fathers of the Church series, but it's the second series, which is called the Continuatio Medi


Evolv. And so it will be volumes one to five of that. We have the first three, where we have a nice American, Contemporary American translation of Peter Damien's works. What are those works? Well, there's 76 sermons we have, 118 letters, 57 of the sermons for sure are Peter Damien's. When you get collections of sermons, they're never others. So over centuries of analysis, they've got 57 for sure are authenticated. 76 treatises on spiritual and monastic things, among which the most important are probably his Dominus Vobiscum, his Liber Gaborianus, which is on the homosexual problems. The Dominus Vobiscum treating the whole thing about hermit solitude and being in the church, a big part


of the church. He wrote poems, prayers, hymns, and there are also fragments of other things. Incredible output. Besides this, he was doing all kinds of troubleshooting, people-legged duties, reforms, all kinds of crap. All kinds of stuff. Incredible output from him. Present in a lot of church synods where he was very eloquent and became known as the church's iron fist. He was very principled in that sense. He was a writer, a diplomat, a reformer, a prior, a poet, a hermit, bishop, cardinal,


a teacher, doctor of the church, he did a lot. And for him, just parenthetically, the last two minutes, I'll do Gualberti in the beginning of next, that will take all of five minutes, next Wednesday. So, if you don't have this, write it down so I don't have to next Wednesday, his name, dates, if you're doing dates. But, penance was a big thing with Peter Damian, parenthetically, and the monks at Fonte Alvolana, under Peter Damian, after Peter Damian, became known as penitentiaries. Well, penitentiaries nowadays are the Hispanics who walk during Holy Week, sometimes crucify one of their members, who beat themselves with whips. Well, the penitentiaries back there are just, they're heavy, heavy into penitential practices. Whipping was one of the things. Heavy fasts, hair shirts, all kinds of stuff were going on at Fonte Alvolana, as part of


the austerity and communion with Christ crucified. Christ crucified. What is the name of Fonte Alvolana? No, what is the real title of it? La Croce. The cross, the Holy Cross. In fact, it becomes the congregation of the Holy Cross in town. The whole thing is, it's not, you know, you can say, well, it's sick. What are they beating themselves for and all of that? Well, a lot of the most fervent movements right now are doing penance. Doing penance because, oh, this is going on and the whole church is into reform movements and it makes sense to be doing penance for transgressions and for the good of the church so that the reforms will be beneficial


to them. It's sort of an evangelical or evangelistic penitential approach. Later on, you get times like in France, 16th century, where the penitential practices are anything but edifying or healthy, with Jansenism, for instance. But, of course, we can argue about this, and people do argue about it, about somebody like Dominic Lercato, who just literally beat himself to death. He's just a real whipper. The question is, was he a what is the word, masochist? Was he the masochist? No, he was a saint who was very fervent and took this part and they helped. Do you want to be like Dominic? Probably not, but I mean, don't write him off just because he was whipping himself. That was part of what was going on at that time. I plan to translate the life of Dominic Lercato next year. Not for publication, just for our own.


To put in our library so we have it. Because we haven't had it in English. Okay, John Walker and then the Cistercians next Wednesday. So, have read then the last reading, which is St. Bernard Steps of Humility and Pride. And bring your folders in and hand them in your readers next Wednesday.