Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, June 13, 2021
Saint of the Week
Our Pastor Column series for the summer will feature a different “Saint of the Week.” Each Sunday’s bulletin will introduce us to a saint whose Feast or Memorial takes place that coming week.
Our first Saint of the Week is Saint Romuald, born in the year 950 AD. His Memorial is on June 19.
In the midst of a youth largely wasted on the exclusive pursuit of worldly pleasures and pursuits, everything suddenly changed for Romuald when he watched his father kill a relative in a duel over property. In horror, he fled to a monastery near Ravenna, in modern-day Italy, where he immediately took up a life of extreme penance and prayer. After three years of this, some of the monks decided that he was “uncomfortably holy” and pressed upon to leave.
Romuald spent the next thirty years traveling the Italian peninsula, founding monasteries and hermitages in many places where he went. He longed to give his life to Jesus Christ in martyrdom, and he received the pope’s permission to preach the Gospel in modern-day Hungary (which, at that time, was still hostile to the Church). But he was struck with illness as soon as he arrived, and the illness recurred each time he recovered and attempted to proceed to Hungary. He returned to Italy.
During a later period of his life, Romuald suffered great spiritual dryness. In this time, as he was praying Psalm 31 (“I will give you understanding and I will instruct you”), he was blessed with a sudden and extraordinary consolation, a light and spirit that never left him.
At the next monastery where he stayed, Romuald was accused of a scandalous crime by a young nobleman whom he had rebuked for a dissolute life. The specifics of the accusation are now unknown, but amazingly, his fellow monks believed the accusation. He was given a severe penance, forbidden from offering Mass, and excommunicated – an unjust sentence that he endured in silence for six months.
The most famous of the monasteries that Romuald founded was that of the Camaldoli in Tuscany. Here, he began the Order of the Camaldolese Benedictines, uniting the monastic and eremitical lives. Later in life and at an old age, Romuald’s own father became one of his monks, wavering in his faith and resolve at times but ultimately kept faithful by his son’s encouragement.
With the foundation of the monastery at Camaldoli, he added a heightened severity to the Rule of Saint Benedict. This severity of monastic life, along with he himself choosing the life of a hermit, Romuald initiated and helped to mold a religious movement that was to give birth to the
and the early
Like all of the saints, Romuald fought a lifelong battle against the many various assaults of Satan, society, and other people. In the beginning of his spiritual
, he was strongly assailed by numerous temptations, which he was able to conquer by vigilance and prayer. There were even several attempts on his life, but he escaped the danger each time. And like many saints, he was a victim of calumny (the aforementioned false accusation), but he bore the injustice in patience and silence. In his old age, he actually increased his austerities rather than diminishing them. After a long
as monk and abbot, he died in the monastery of Castro, which he had earlier founded in Marquisate of Ancona, in modern-day Itality. His death occurred on June 19, probably in the year 1027 AD.
Saint Romuald…pray for us.
~ Fr. Lewis
on Saturday, June 12 at 2:00PM