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St. Peter Damian

Happy First Sunday of Lent everyone! May we all follow the Spirit’s lead in our 40 day Lenten Journey!

If the 21st fell on another day, we would be celebrating Saint Peter Damian Day. Saint Peter Damian lived in the 11th century. He was born into a very large family in Ravenna, Italy. When he was young, Saint Peter Damian’s parents died. He was then left in the custody of his older brother, who did not treat him too kindly. However, another brother provided him with funds to send him to school. By the time Saint Peter Damian was twenty-five, he was a famous professor. He did not let his fame get the best of him. Saint Peter Damian always remembered his humble beginnings, and was good to the poor. He was known to invite poor people to dine with him almost every evening and he also served the meal to them! Eventually, Saint Peter Damian became a Cardinal and brought reform. He encouraged priests and monks to live a simple life. He was so wise that throughout his ministry seven Popes asked for his advice. If there was a problem at a monastery, many times they would bring in Saint Peter Damian to be troubleshooter and peacemaker. Saint Peter Damian was such a man of prayer that he developed severe insomnia because he was so eager to pray. Eventually, he made some changes because we all need our “shuteye.” Some commented that when he was not praying, he was reading the Bible. 

Saint Peter Damian’s life reminds us that we need to be prudent in our prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Especially during this season of Lent, we need to keep this in mind. One of my priest friends, Fr. Richard Bona, tells the story of the seminarian that decided for Lent that he would only eat one walnut a day. I think by day three he was admitted to the hospital. So, if you were thinking of just eating a walnut a day, you may want to alter your plans. But I hope you have great Lent this year. God bless and stay safe!

In Christ,

Fr. Steve Breck
Pastor, St. Mary Magdalene