St. Romuald

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St. Romuald, Founder of the Order of Camaldoll

Ravenna, a well-known town in Italy, received, in the beginning of the tenth century, from God, the grace to become the birthplace of St. Romuald. The first twenty years of his life he passed like a child of the world, who only seeks after pleasure. Dogs, horses, hunting, riding, play, and society, were the only things he enjoyed, and in which he occupied his time. Of praying, visiting the church, listening to the Word of God, reading holy books, or other Christian exercises, he cared to hear and know nothing, until God, by the following incident, opened his eyes and brought him to the knowledge of Himself, and to repentance. His father, Sergius, Duke of Ravenna, had slain, in a duel, one of his best friends. This Romuald had witnessed, and it affected him to such a degree, that he went to Classis into a Benedictine Monastery, where he remained forty days, praying, fasting, and watching. A pious Friar, who waited upon him, endeavored to disgust him with the world, by picturing to him the many and great dangers to which those living in it were exposed. Romuald could not at first reconcile himself to the idea of relinquishing the world, but, after many prayers and the appearance of St. Apollonarius, who was patron of the monastery, he resolved to dedicate his life to the service of God, and entered the monastery. The life he henceforth led was so austere, so penitential, and so strictly in conformity with all the rules of the Order, that others, who were sluggish in the fulfilment of their duties, reproached by his example, regarded him with hatred, and even conspired against his life. As soon as Romuald became aware of this, he left the monastery and retired, with the knowledge and consent of the Abbot, into the desert to Marinus, a hermit renowned for his sanctity, under whose guidance he attained great perfection. With this, his teacher, he went to Venice and induced the Duke, Peter Urseoli, who, besides having committed many crimes, had unjustly taken possession of the Government, to leave Venice, and, with many others, to enter upon a religious life. In this way Romuald caused many others, either by personal persuasion or by letters, to repent and reform. Among these was his own father, whom he had prevailed upon to enter a monastery, and when, some years later he heard of his intention to leave it again, he walked barefooted from France to Ravenna, where his father was. By his fervent exhortations and to his own great happiness, he succeeded in persuading his father to continue his penitential life, after which he returned home, humbly praising and thanking the Almighty. Continue reading