vendredi 8 février 2013

Saint ROMUALD, abbé

Saint Romuald

Abbé

(906-1027)

Saint Romuald

Saint Romuald naquit à Ravenne, en 906, d'une des plus illustres familles d'Italie. Sa jeunesse fut orageuse, mais bientôt la grâce, qui le poursuivait, triompha de ses résistances, et il racheta son passé par les plus effrayantes austérités.

Après avoir vécu sept ans dans un monastère de Saint-Benoît, il se sentit inspiré de mener la vie solitaire, et alla habiter avec un saint homme qui lui faisait réciter chaque jour de mémoire tout le psautier. Quand il faisait quelque faute, l'ermite, toujours armé d'une verge, lui donnait un rude coup sur l'oreille gauche. Romuald souffrait patiemment; cependant un jour, s'apercevant qu'il perdait l'ouïe du côté gauche, il pria le rude vieillard de le frapper sur l'oreille droite. Ce fait suppose un grand progrès dans la vertu.

Bientôt Romuald devint le chef d'une foule de solitaires; il réforma et fonda un grand nombre de monastères, et établit enfin l'Ordre des Camaldules.

Dieu éprouva sa vertu par les terribles assauts du démon, qui lui demandait à quoi servaient tant de prières et de pénitences. Les victoires du Saint rendaient son ennemi plus furieux, et plus d'une fois il fut battu et foulé aux pieds par des esprits malins revêtus des formes les plus fantastiques: "Quoi! disait Romuald au démon, en se moquant de lui, tu as été chassé du Ciel et tu viens au désert montrer ta honte! Va-t-en, bête immonde, vilain serpent!"

Notre Saint jouit à un haut degré du don des larmes; il ne pouvait célébrer la Messe sans pleurer, et, pendant son oraison, vaincu par l'émotion et ravi en extase, il s'écriait: "Jésus, mon cher Jésus! doux miel, ineffable désir, délices des Saints, suavité des Anges!"

Arrivé à une extrême vieillesse, il jeûnait encore tous les jours, et, pendant le carême, il se contentait d'une écuelle de légumes à son unique repas. Quelquefois il demandait certains mets afin de les voir, d'en faire le sacrifice à Dieu et de se moquer de la sensualité: "Voilà un bon morceau bien apprêté, Romuald, disait-il; tu le trouverais bien de ton goût, n'est-ce pas? Eh bien! Tu n'y toucheras pas, et tu n'en auras eu la vue que pour te mortifier davantage."

Il faisait tant et de si grands miracles que toute la nature semblait lui être soumise. Cet illustre athlète de la pénitence, malgré ses austérités étonnantes, mourut à l'âge de cent vingt ans, dont quatre-vingt-treize ans dans la vie érémitique.

Abbé L. Jaud, Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l'année, Tours, Mame, 1950



Andreas Sacchi, La Vision de Saint Romuald, 1631

A Fabriano, translation de S Romuald (1467). Né vers 951, fondateur des Camaldules en 1012. Mort en 1027. Fête en 1595.

Leçons des Matines avant 1960

Quatrième leçon. Romuald naquit à Ravenne ; Serge, son père, était de noble race. Il se retira dès sa jeunesse dans le monastère de Classe, proche de la ville pour y faire pénitence. Là, les entretiens d’un saint religieux l’enflammèrent d’un zèle ardent pour la piété. Ayant eu dans l’église, pendant la nuit, deux apparitions de saint Apollinaire, il se fit moine, selon la prédiction que lui avait faite le serviteur de Dieu. Bientôt il se rendit sur les terres des Vénitiens, auprès de Marin, célèbre alors par la sainteté de sa vie et l’austérité de sa discipline, afin de l’avoir pour maître et pour guide dans la voie étroite et sublime de la perfection.

Cinquième leçon. Attaqué par Satan, qui lui dressait des embûches, et par l’envie des hommes, il en devenait d’autant plus humble, s’exerçait assidûment aux jeûnes et à la prière, et se livrait à la méditation des choses célestes, en versant d’abondantes larmes : son visage était néanmoins toujours si joyeux qu’il réjouissait ceux qui le considéraient. Il fut en grand honneur auprès des princes et des rois, et plusieurs, par son conseil, renonçant aux attraits du monde, se retirèrent dans la solitude. Brûlant du désir du martyre, il partit pour la Pannonie dans l’espoir de l’y trouver : mais une maladie qui le tourmentait quand il avançait, et qui lui était enlevée lorsqu’il revenait sur ses pas, le contraignit de s’en retourner.

Sixième leçon. Il fut illustre par des miracles pendant sa vie et après sa mort ; il eut aussi l’esprit de prophétie. Comme le patriarche Jacob, il aperçut en vision une échelle s’élevant de la terre au ciel, par laquelle montaient et descendaient des hommes vêtus de blanc, et il reconnut dans cette vision merveilleuse les moines Camaldules, dont il a fondé l’institut. Enfin, après avoir vécu cent vingt ans et servi Dieu pendant un siècle par la vie la plus austère, il s’en alla vers lui l’an du salut mil vingt-sept. Son corps ayant été trouvé intact cinq ans après sa sépulture, on le déposa avec honneur dans l’église de son Ordre, à Fabriano.


Dom Guéranger, l’Année Liturgique

La série des Martyrs est interrompue pour deux jours sur le Cycle sacré ; nous fêtons aujourd’hui un des héros de la pénitence, Romuald, l’ange des forêts de Camaldoli. C’est un des fils du grand patriarche Benoît ; père, après lui, d’une longue postérité. La filiation bénédictine se poursuit, directe, jusqu’à la fin des temps ; mais du tronc de cet arbre puissant sortent en ligne collatérale quatre glorieux rameaux toujours adhérents, et auxquels l’Esprit-Saint a donné vie et fécondité pour de longs siècles ; ce sont : Camaldoli par Romuald, Cluny par Odon, Vallombreuse par Jean Gualbert, et Cîteaux par Robert de Molesmes.

Aujourd’hui, Romuald réclame nos hommages ; et si les Martyrs que nous avons déjà rencontrés, et que nous rencontrerons encore sur la route qui nous conduit à l’expiation quadragésimale, nous offrent un précieux enseignement par le mépris qu’ils ont fait de la vie, les saints pénitents, comme le grand Abbé de Camaldoli, nous présentent une leçon plus pratique encore. Ceux qui sont à Jésus-Christ, dit l’Apôtre, ont crucifié leur chair avec ses vices et ses convoitises [1] ; c’est donc la condition commune de tout chrétien ; mais quel puissant encouragement nous donnent ces généreux athlètes de la mortification qui ont sanctifié les déserts par les œuvres héroïques de leur pénitence, enlevant ainsi toute excuse à notre lâcheté qui s’effraie des légères satisfactions que Dieu exige pour nous rendre ses bonnes grâces ! Acceptons la leçon qui nous est donnée, et offrons de bon cœur au Seigneur que nous avons offensé le tribut de notre repentir, avec les œuvres qui purifient les âmes.

Ami de Dieu, Romuald, que votre vie a été différente de la nôtre ! Nous aimonsle monde et ses agitations ; c’est à peine si la pensée de Dieu traverse quelquefois nos journées d’un fugitif souvenir ; plus rarement encore est-elle le mobile de nos actions. Cependant chaque heure qui s’écoule nous approche de ce moment où nous nous trouverons en face de Dieu, chargés de nos œuvres bonnes et mauvaises, sans que rien ne puisse plus modifier la sentence que nous nous serons préparée. Vous n’avez pas entendu ainsi la vie, ô Romuald ! Il vous a semblé qu’une pensée unique devait la remplir tout entière, un seul intérêt la préoccuper, et vous avez marché constamment en présence de Dieu. Pour n’être pas distrait de ce grand et cher objet, vous avez cherché le désert ; là, sous la règle du saint Patriarche des moines, vous avez lutté contre le démon et la chair ; vos larmes ont lavé vos péchés, si légers en comparaison des nôtres ; votre cœur, régénéré dans la pénitence, a pris son essor d’amour vers le Sauveur des hommes, et vous eussiez voulu lui offrir jusqu’à votre sang. Vos mérites sont notre bien aujourd’hui, par cette heureuse communion que le Seigneur a daigné établir entre les plus saintes âmes et nous pécheurs. Aidez-nous donc dans la carrière de pénitence qui commencera bientôt ; nous avons tant besoin de mettre la faiblesse de nos œuvres à couvert sous la plénitude des vôtres ! Au fond de votre solitude, sous les ombrages de votre Éden de Camaldoli, vous aimiez les hommes vos frères, et jamais ils n’approchèrent de vous sans être captivés par votre aimable et douce charité : montrez-leur que vous les aimez toujours. Souvenez-vous aussi de l’Ordre que vous avez fondé ; fécondez ses restes vénérables, et faites qu’il soit toujours aux âmes que le Seigneur y appelle une échelle sûre pour monter jusqu’à lui.

[1] Gal. V, 24.


Bhx Cardinal Schuster, Liber Sacramentorum

La fête de ce célèbre réformateur de la vie anachorétique au XIe siècle (+ 1027) qui, au temps des Othons, joua un si grand rôle dans l’histoire de Rome et du suprême pontificat, fut instituée par Clément VIII ; toutefois elle ne fut pas fixée au 19 juin, jour de son trépas, à cause de la fête des martyrs Gervais et Protais, mais au 7 février, anniversaire de la translation de son corps à Fabriano, dans le monastère de Saint-Blaise, où il repose encore.

La messe est celle du Commun des abbés, comme le jour de saint Sabbas, le 5 décembre ; et il est à remarquer que l’austère Grégoire XVI, qui pourtant avait appartenu comme moine à la Congrégation cénobitique des Camaldules, née de saint Romuald, ne crut pas opportun d’apporter à l’office divin quelque modification propre à favoriser le culte envers son saint Fondateur, pas même une oraison spéciale.

A Rome un riche autel est dédié à saint Romuald dans la basilique de Saint-André au Clivus Scauri (devenue Saint-Grégoire) ; en outre il était titulaire d’une petite église située près du forum de Trajan, qui a été détruite il y a quelques années. Le tableau d’André Sacchi, qui en ornait l’autel principal, et représente la fameuse vision de l’échelle par laquelle les moines vêtus de blanc montaient au ciel, se trouve maintenant à la pinacothèque vaticane.

Dom Pius Parsch, le Guide dans l’année liturgique

La pénitence dans l’allégresse du cœur.

Saint Romuald. — Jour de mort : 19 juin 1027. Tombeau : dans le couvent de Saint-Blaise, à Fabriano. Image : on le représente avec l’habit blanc des Camaldules, avec une échelle céleste sur laquelle ses moines montent au ciel. Sa vie : Saint Romuald, le fondateur des Camaldules, hésita dans sa jeunesse entre Dieu et le monde. Mais son père ayant tué un parent en duel, et lui-même ayant été forcé d’assister à cet acte sanglant, il se retira pour une pénitence de quarante jours dans le monastère de Saint-Apollinaire, près de Ravenne, dans lequel il entra ensuite comme moine. Puis il se mit à l’école du solitaire Marin. Il fonda ensuite un Ordre d’ermites qu’on appela les Camaldules, du nom de son célèbre ermitage. C’est un des Ordres d’hommes les plus sévères de l’Occident (à proprement parler, c’est une branche de l’Ordre des Bénédictins). Les religieux vivent dans des petites maisons isolées, observant un silence et un jeûne continuels, s’occupant à la prière et au travail des mains. Romuald avait la grâce particulière de convertir les pécheurs, spécialement les puissants de ce monde. Il mourut vêtu de son cilice, sans s’être jamais couché sur un lit, après avoir passé sa vie dans la plus dure pénitence. Il était âgé d’un peu plus de soixante-dix ans. Son disciple, le saint docteur de l’Église, Pierre Damien, écrivit sa biographie. « La grandeur de sa vie consiste dans une conception et un développement austère et simple, bien que toujours original, de sa vocation religieuse. Romuald était, dans le plus intime de son être, un ascète, un moine. Certes, ce n’était pas un moine possédant cette sérénité calme et assurée, cette mesure et cet équilibre, dont saint Benoît a fait l’idéal du moine, idéal, qu’il a lui-même réalisé dans sa vie. Ce n’était pas non plus un organisateur qui, par une législation sage, perpétue son esprit dans son œuvre. Son image nous rappelle les austères figures monastiques des déserts d’Orient. Il nous fait penser à ces hommes qui, par la plus dure mortification et la plus sévère pénitence, donnèrent à un monde débauché, de sérieux exemples, pour l’amener à la réflexion et la conversion. L’exemple de sa vie fut la prédication la plus efficace. Et ce souvenir perpétue la vie de saint Romuald. »

De la vie de saint Romuald. — Romuald, qui n’était pas très habile dans la lecture, se trompait souvent. Aussitôt Marin, qui se tenait en face de lui, lui donnait un coup de baguette sur la joue gauche. A la fin, Romuald trouva que c’était trop : « Ah ! cher maître », dit-il modestement, « frappez-moi désormais sur la joue droite. Mon oreille gauche est presque sourde. » Le maître fut surpris d’une telle patience et désormais il modéra ses corrections trop sévères. Il avait coutume de dire : « Mieux vaut réciter un — psaume avec piété et componction que d’en réciter cent avec un esprit distrait. » Quand le saint sentit sa fin prochaine, et qu’après tant de pérégrinations, il fut sur le point d’entreprendre le voyage de la céleste patrie, il se retira dans le monastère de Val di Castro. Là il se fit bâtir une petite cellule et une petite chapelle pour attendre la mort dans le silence. Malgré les défaillances de son corps sénile, il ne se coucha pas et, autant que possible, il n’abandonna pas son jeûne austère. Un jour, la respiration devint plus difficile, ses forces l’abandonnèrent et il sentit une grande fatigue. Vers le coucher du soleil, il ordonna aux deux frères qui le veillaient de s’en aller, de fermer la cellule et de ne revenir que pour les Laudes du matin. Cependant, ils restèrent près de la porte et écoutèrent. Au bout d’un certain temps, ils n’entendirent plus de respiration. Ils entrèrent et firent de la lumière. Romuald était décédé comme il l’avait prédit, vingt ans avant, aux frères, dans la solitude et le silence. Aujourd’hui est l’anniversaire de la translation de ses reliques

La messe (Os justi) du commun des Abbés. — L’Abbé occupe une place intermédiaire entre les confesseurs pontifes et les confesseurs non pontifes : il est, dans sa famille religieuse, chef et père, mais il ne possède pas la plénitude du sacerdoce comme l’Évêque. Cela est exprimé dans la messe. Nous le voyons comme l’administrateur fidèle qui est placé à la tête de sa « famille » religieuse pour lui distribuer en temps voulu la juste mesure de froment (Comm. ; le même verset se trouve au Commun des Pontifes, et des docteurs) ; le religieux a suivi le conseil du Seigneur de la manière la plus fidèle, il a « tout quitté », « sa maison, ses frères, son père, sa mère et ses champs », pour l’amour du Seigneur, c’est pourquoi il aura, plus que d’autres, part à la gloire du retour du Seigneur (Év.). Aujourd’hui, au jour de sa mort, il est entré dans la gloire, « le désir de son cœur » a été comblé, il est couronné de la « couronne de pierres précieuses » (Grad. Off.). Nous aussi, nous pouvons, à la messe, participer à cette gloire. Dans la leçon, il est question de son élévation à la dignité d’Abbé et du mystérieux dialogue de Dieu avec lui. Rempli de l’esprit de la plus austère pénitence, Romuald fonda un nouvel Ordre d’ermites. Mais il laissa à ses disciples, avec la charge d’expier pour les autres, la joie du cœur et la liturgie commune. Le visage de ce saint austère était si joyeux que tous ceux qui le voyaient se réjouissaient. Dans la liturgie, nous pouvons unir l’esprit de pénitence et la joie.

SOURCE : http://www.introibo.fr/07-02-St-Romuald-abbe#nh1


Saint Romuald

Il semble que saint Romuald naquit entre 951 et 956 dans la famille des Honesti, ducs de Ravenne. Elevé, suivant les maximes du monde, dans la mollesse et le goût des plaisirs, il se laissa entraîner par la fougue de ses passions ; néanmoins, de temps en temps, il s’inquiétait de l’état de son âme et prenait la résolution d’être plus fidèle à Dieu. Il arrivait que, suivant à la chasse quelque bête, seul au milieu des bois, il se prit à prier : « Heureux, s’écriait-il, les anciens ermites qui choisissaient de telles retraites pour demeures ! Avec quelle tranquillité ils servaient Dieu, ainsi éloignés des tumultes du monde. »

Son père, Sergius, qui voulut terminer par un duel une discussion engagée avec un parent pour le partage d’un pré, exigea que Romuald fût son témoin. Le père ayant tué son adversaire, Romuald se considéra complice d’un homicide et s’en fut faire quarante jours de pénitence à l’abbaye bénédictine Saint-Appolinaire de Classe. Là, totalement converti par l’exemple d’un frère convers, Romuald demanda l’habit religieux.

Romuald fut un si bon moine que certains de ses confrères qui ne pouvaient supporter une telle perfection, résolurent de le tuer. Or l’un des conjurés prévint Romuald qui obtint de l’abbé de Classe la permission de quitter le monastère pour se réfugier près de Venise, chez l’ermite Marin. Vers 978, Marin et Romuald accompagnèrent en France Pierre Urséole, ancien doge de Venise, qui allait se faire moine à Saint-Michel de Cuxa. Dom Guérin, l’abbé du monastère, reçut aussi Romuald et le garda quelques temps sous sa direction, puis il lui permit de se retirer dans un ermitage où il passa trois ans dans la plus grande austérité et les terribles attaques du démon.

Romuald apprit que Sergius, son père, qui s’était fait religieux à Saint-Sévère de Ravenne, songeait à retourner dans le monde. Pour détourner son père de ce funeste projet, Romuald voulut quitter Cuxa mais les habitants refusaient de laisser partir, préférant le savoir mort que loin d’eux. Romuald contrefit l’insensé et lorsque les gens le crurent totalement fou, ils le laissèrent partir. Sergius fut convaincu par son fils et mourut moine, l’année suivante, en odeur de sainteté (995). Après la mort de son père, Romuald revint se mettre sous l’autorité de l’abbé de Classe qui lui permit de reprendre sa vie érémitique à Pont-de-Pierre. Un peu plus tard, rejoint par des disciples, il fonda un monastère en l’honneur de saint Michel archange, près de Bagno. Othon II qui séjournait à Ravenne et voulait réformer l’abbaye de Classe le fit élire abbé et l’y ramena de force. Romuald qui s’était, pendant deux ans, appliqué vainement à réformer son abbaye, alla déposer sa charge aux pieds de l’Empereur et de l’archevêque Gerbert de Ravenne (le futur pape Sylvestre II). Othon II ayant manqué à sa parole pour prendre Tivoli, Romuald lui imposa une rude pénitence. Plusieurs seigneurs se convertirent et se mirent à son écolme. Il obtint que l’Empereur construisît dans l’île de Pérée un monastère en l’honneur de saint Adalbert à la condition d’y former des missionnaires pour la Pologne et la Russie. Pendant que Romuald établissait de nouveaux monastères en Italie, tous les missionnaires qu’il avait envoyés furent tués. Le Pape lui permit d’aller lui-même évangéliser la Hongrie mais à peine fût-il arrivé à la frontière de ce pays qu’il tomba si gravement malade qu’il dut retourner en Italie. Sur chemin du retour il fonda en Allemagne quelques monastères et en réforma d’autres.

Le Pape fit venir Romuald à Rome ; près de la ville, il bâtit des monastères dont Sasso Ferrato où il fit un long séjour. Henri I° qui avait succédé à Othon II le vint visiter et lui donna le monastère du Mont-Amatius, en Toscane.

En 1012, à Calmaldoli (diocèse d’Arezzo) il fonda un monastère d’un type nouveau où la vie commune du travail et de l’office bénédictins s’alliait à l’érémitisme ; les moines abandonnèrent l’habit noir pour l’habit blanc et portèrent la barbe pleine.

Comme il l’avait prédit, vingt ans plus tôt à ses frères, Romuald vint mourir au monastère du val de Castro le 19 juin 1027. Il y eut tant de miracles sur sa tombe où son corps était resté sans corruption, qu’il fut canonisé (1032).

SOURCE : http://missel.free.fr/Sanctoral/06/19.php

Saint Romuald naquit à Ravenne d’une des plus illustres familles d’Italie, en 907, Sergius III étant pape, Léon VI empereur à Byzance, Louis IV empereur d’Allemagne et Charles III le Simple roi de France.

Sa jeunesse fut orageuse, mais bientôt la grâce, qui le poursuivait, triompha de ses résistances, et il racheta son passé par les plus effrayantes austérités. Après avoir vécu sept ans dans un monastère de saint Benoît, il se sentit inspiré de mener la vie solitaire, et alla habiter avec un saint homme qui lui faisait réciter chaque jour de mémoire tout le psautier. Quand il faisait quelque faute, l’ermite, toujours armé d’une verge, lui donnait un rude coup sur l’oreille gauche. Saint Romuald souffrait patiemment ; cependant un jour, s’apercevant qu’il perdait l’ouïe du côté gauche, il pria le rude vieillard de le frapper sur l’oreille droite. Ce fait suppose un grand progrès dans la vertu.

Bientôt saint Romuald devint le chef d’une foule de solitaires ; il réforma et fonda un grand nombre de monastères, et établit enfin l’Ordre des Camaldules. Dieu éprouva sa vertu par les terribles assauts du démon, qui lui demandait à quoi servaient tant de prières et de pénitences. Les victoires du Saint rendaient son ennemi plus furieux, et plus d’une fois il fut battu et foulé aux pieds par des esprits malins revêtus des formes les plus fantastiques : « Quoi ! disait saint Romuald au démon, en se moquant de lui, tu as été chassé du Ciel et tu viens au désert montrer ta honte ! Va-t’en, bête immonde, vilain serpent ! »

Notre Saint jouit à un haut degré du don des larmes ; il ne pouvait célébrer la Messe sans pleurer, et, pendant son oraison, vaincu par l’émotion et ravi en extase, il s’écriait : « Jésus, mon cher Jésus ! ô doux miel, ineffable désir, délices des Saints, suavité des Anges ! »

Arrivé à une extrême vieillesse, il jeûnait encore tous les jours, et, pendant le Carême, il se contentait d’une écuelle de légumes à son unique repas. Quelquefois il demandait certains mets afin de les voir, d’en faire le sacrifice à Dieu et de se moquer de la sensualité : « Voilà un bon morceau, bien apprêté, Romuald, disait-il, tu le trouverais bien de ton goût, n’est-ce pas ? eh bien ! tu n’y toucheras pas, et tu n’en auras eu la vue que pour te mortifier davantage. »

Il faisait tant et de si grands miracles que toute la nature semblait lui être soumise. Cet illustre athlète de la pénitence, malgré ses austérités étonnantes, mourut à l’âge de cent vingt ans, dont quatre-vingt-treize ans dans la vie érémitique. C’était l’an 1027, le 19 juin, Jean XIX étant pape, Lothaire II empereur d’Allemagne et Robert II le Pieux roi de France.

SOURCE : http://www.cassicia.com/FR/Vie-de-saint-Romuald-mort-a-120-ans-en-1027-Fete-le-7-fevrier-Fondateur-de-l-ordre-des-Camaldules-Ermite-d-une-tres-grande-ascese-No_613.htm


St. Romuald

In the tenth century Sergius, a nobleman of Ravenna, quarreled with a relative over an estate and, in a duel to which his son Romuald was witness, slew him. The young man of twenty years was horrified at his father’s crime, and entered a Benedictine monastery at Classe to do a forty days’ penance for him. This penance led to his entry into religion as a Benedictine monk.

After seven years at Classe, Romuald went to live as a hermit near Venice, under the guidance of a holy man who had him recite the Psalter from memory every day. When he stumbled, the hermit struck his left ear with a rod. Romuald suffered with patience, but one day, noting that he was losing his hearing in that ear, asked the old man to strike him on his right ear. This episode supposes great progress in virtue. The two religious were joined by Peter Urseolus, Duke of Venice, who desired to do penance also, and together they led a most austere life in the midst of assaults from the evil spirits.

Saint Romuald, whose aim was to restore the primitive rule to the Order of Saint Benedict, succeeded in founding some hundred monasteries in both Italy and France, and he filled the solitudes with hermitages. The principal monastery was that at Camaldoli, a wild, deserted region, where he built a church, surrounded by a number of separate cells for the solitaries who lived under his rule; his disciples were thus called Camaldolese. For five years the fervent founder was tormented by furious attacks by the demon. He repulsed him, saying, “O enemy! Driven out of heaven, you come to the desert? Depart, ugly serpent, already you have what is due you.” And the shamed adversary would leave him. Saint Romuald’s father, Sergius, was moved by the examples of his son, and entered religion near Ravenna; there he, too, was attacked by hell and thought of abandoning his design. Romuald went to visit him; he showed him the error of the devil’s ruses, and his father died in the monastery, in the odor of sanctity.

Among his first disciples were Saints Adalbert and Boniface, apostles of Russia, and Saints John and Benedict of Poland, martyrs for the faith. He was an intimate friend of the Emperor Saint Henry, and was reverenced and consulted by many great men of his time. He once passed seven years in solitude and total silence. He died, as he had foretold twenty years in advance, alone in his monastery of Val Castro, on the 19th of June, 1027, in an advanced and abundantly fruitful old age.

By the life of Saint Romuald, we see how God brings good out of evil. In his youth Saint Romuald was much troubled by temptations of the flesh; to escape them he had recourse to hunting, and it was in the woods that he first conceived his love for solitude. His father’s sin prompted him to undertake a forty days’ penance in the monastery, which he then made his permanent home. Some bad examples of his fellow-monks induced him to leave them and adopt the solitary mode of life; the repentance of a Venetian Duke brought him his first disciple. The temptations of the devil compelled him to lead his severe life of expiation; and finally, the persecutions of others were the occasion of his settlement at Camaldoli, mother house of his Order.

SOURCE : http://www.ucatholic.com/saints/saint-romuald/

St. Romuald

Born at Ravenna, probably about 950; died at Val-di-Castro, 19 June, 1027. St. Peter Damian, his first biographer, and almost all the Camaldolese writers assert that St. Romuald's age at his death was one hundred and twenty, and that therefore he was born about 907. This is disputed by most modern writers. Such a date not only results in a series of improbabilities with regard to events in the saint's life, but is also irreconcilable with known dates, and probably was determined from some mistaken inference by St. Peter Damian. In his youth Romuald indulged in the usual thoughtless and even vicious life of the tenth-century noble, yet felt greatly drawn to the eremetical life. At the age of twenty, struck with horror because his fatherhad killed an enemy in a duel, he fled to the Abbey of San Apollinare-in-Classe and after some hesitation entered religion. San Apollinare had recently been reformed by St. Maieul of Cluny, but still was not strict enough in its observance to satisfy Romuald. His injudicious correction of the less zealous aroused such enmity against him that he applied for, and was readily granted, permission to retire to Venice, where he placed himself under the direction of a hermit named Marinus and lived a life of extraordinary severity. About 978, Pietro Orseolo I, Doge of Venice, who had obtained his office by acquiescence in the murder of his predecessor, began to suffer remorse for his crime. On the advice of Guarinus, Abbot of San Miguel-de-Cuxa, inCatalonia, and of Marinus and Romuald, he abandoned his office and relations, and fled to Cuxa, where he took the habit of St. Benedict, while Romuald and Marinus erected a hermitage close to the monastery. For five years the saint lived a life of great austerity, gathering round him a band of disciples. Then, hearing that his father, Sergius, who had become a monk, was tormented with doubts as to his vocation, he returned in haste to Italy, subjected Sergius to severe discipline, and so resolved his doubts. For the next thirty years St. Romuald seems to have wandered about Italy, founding many monasteries and hermitages. For some time he made Pereum his favourite resting place. In 1005 he went to Val-di- Castro for about two years, and left it,prophesying that he would return to die there alone and unaided. Again he wandered about Italy; then attempted to go to Hungary, but was prevented by persistent illness. In 1012 he appeared at Vallombrosa, whence he moved into the Diocese of Arezzo. Here, according to the legend, a certain Maldolus, who had seen a vision of monks in white garments ascending into Heaven, gave him some land, afterwards known as theCampus Maldoli, or Camaldoli. St. Romuald built on this land five cells for hermits, which, with the monasteryat Fontebuono, built two years later, became the famous mother-house of the Camaldolese Order. In 1013 he retired to Monte-Sitria. In 1021 he went to Bifolco. Five years later he returned to Val-di-Castro where he died, as he had prophesied, alone in his cell. Many miracles were wrought at his tomb, over which an altar was allowed to be erected in 1032. In 1466 his body was found still incorrupt; it was translated to Fabriano in 1481. In 1595 Clement VIII fixed his feast on 7 Feb., the day of the translation of his relics, and extended its celebration to the whole Church. He is represented in art pointing to a ladder on which are monks ascending toHeaven.


[Note: By the Apostolic Constitution Calendarium Romanum, promulgated in 1969, the feast of St. Romuald was assigned, as an "Optional Memorial," to 19 June, the day of his death.]

Sources

Acta SS., Feb., II (Venice, 1735), 101-46; CASTANIZA, Historia de S. Romvaldo (Madrid, 1597); COLLINA, Vita di S. Romualdo (Bologna, 1748); GRANDO, Dissertationes Camaldulenses (Lucca, 1707), II, 1-144; III, 1-160; MABILLON, Acta SS. O.S.B., saec. VI, par. I (Venice, 1733), 246-78; MITTARELLI AND COSTADONI, Annales Camaldulenses, I (Venice, 1755); St. Peter Damian in P.L., CXLIV (Paris, 1867), 953-1008; TRICHAUD, Vie de Saint Romuald (Amiens, 1879); WAITZ in PERTZ, Mon. Germ. Hist.: Script., IV (Hanover, 1841), 846-7.



ST. ROMUALD, ABBOT.

In 976, Sergius, a nobleman of Ravenna, quarrelled with a relation about an estate, and slew him in a duel. His son Romuald, horrified at his father's crime, entered the Benedictine monastery at Classe, to do a forty days' penance for him. This penance ended in his own vocation to religion. After three years at Classe, Romuald went to live as a hermit near Venice, where he was joined by Peter Urseolus, Duke of Venice, and together they led a most austere life in the midst of assaults from the evil spirits. St. Romuald founded many monasteries, the chief of which was that at Camaldoli, a wild desert place, where he built a church, which he surrounded with a number of separate cells for the solitaries who lived under his rule. His disciples were hence called Camaldolese. He is said to have seen here a vision of a mystic ladder, and his white-clothed monks ascending by it to heaven. Among his first disciples were Sts. Adalbert and Boniface, apostles of Russia, and Sts. John and Benedict of Poland, martyrs for the Faith. He was an intimate friend of the Emperor St. Henry, and was reverenced and consulted by many great men of his time. He once passed seven years in solitude and complete silence. In his youth St. Romuald was much troubled by temptations of the flesh. To escape them he had recourse to hunting, and in the woods first conceived his love for solitude. His father's sin; as we have seen, first prompted him to undertake a forty days' penance in the monastery, which he forthwith made his home. Some bad example of his fellow-monks induced him to leave them, and adopt the solitary mode of life. The penance of Urseolus, who had obtained his power wrongfully, brought him his first disciple; the temptations of the devil compelled him to his severe life and finally; the persecutions of others were the occasion of his settlement at Camaldoli, and the foundation of his Order. He died, as he had foretold twenty years before, alone, in his monastery of Val Castro, on the 19th of June, 1027.

REFLECTION.—St. Romuald's life teaches us that, if we only follow the impulses of the Holy Spirit, we shall easily find good everywhere, even on the most unlikely occasions. Our own sins, the sins of others, their ill-will against us, or our own mistakes and misfortunes, are equally capable of leading us, with softened hearts, to the feet of God's mercy and love.

ST. ROMUALD, ABBOT, C.

FOUNDER OF THE ORDER OF CAMALDI.

[From his life, written by St. Peter Damian, fifteen years after his death. See also Mugnotii, Eremi Camaldul. descriptio, Romer, an. 1570. Historiarum Camaldulensium, libri iii. auth. Aug. Florentino, in 4to. Florentiae, 1575. Earumdem pars posterior, in 4to. Venetiis, 1579. Dissertationes Camaldulenses, in quibus agitur de institutione Ordinis, state St. Romnaldi, &c. auth. Guidons Grando, ej. Ord. Lucae, 1707. The Lives of the Saints of this Order, in Italian, by Razzi, 1600, and in Latin, by F. Thomas de Minis, in two vols. in 4to. an. 1605, 1606. Annales Camaldulenses Ordinis St. Benedicti, auctoribas Jo. Ben. Mittarelli, abbate, et Ans. Costadoni, presbyteris et monachis a Cong. Camald. Veuetiis, in four vols. fol. of which the fourth is dedicated to Pope Clement XIII. in 1760.]

A.D. 1027.

ST. ROMUALD, of the family of the dukes of Ravenna, called Honesti, was born in that capital about the year 956. Being brought up in the maxims of the world, in softness and the love of pleasures, he grew every day more and more enslaved to his passions ; yet he often made a resolution of undertaking something remarkable for the honour of God ; and when he went a hunting, if he found an agreeable solitary place in the woods, he would stop in it to pray, and would cry out, " How happy were the ancient hermits, who had such habitations ! With what tranquillity could they serve God, free from the tumult of the world ! " His father, whose name was Sergius, a worldly man; agreed to decide a dispute he had with a relation about an estate by a duel. Romuald was shocked at the criminal design ; but by threats of being disinherited if he refused, was engaged by his father to be present as a spectator : Sergius slew his adversary. Romuald, then twenty years of age, struck with horror at the crime that had been perpetrated, though he had concurred in it no further than by his presence, thought himself, however, obliged to expiate it by a severe course of penance for forty days in the neighbouring Benedictine monastery of Classis, within four miles of Ravenna. He performed great austerities, and prayed and wept almost without intermission. His compunction and fervour made all these exercises seem easy and sweet to him ; and the young nobleman became every day more and more penetrated with the fear and love of God. The good example which he saw, and the discourses of a pious lay-brother, who waited on him, concerning eternity and the contempt of the world, wrought so powerfully upon him, that he petitioned in full chapter to be admitted as a penitent to the religious habit. After some demurs, through their apprehensions of his father's resentment, whose next heir the saint was, his request was granted. He passed seven years in this house in so great fervour and austerity that his example became odious to certain tepid monks, who could not bear such a continual reproach of their sloth. They were more exasperated when his fervour prompted him to reprove their conduct, insomuch that some of the most abandoned formed a design upon his life, the execution of which he prevented by leaving that monastery with the abbot's consent, and retiring into the neighbourhood of Venice, where he put himself under the direction of Marinus, a holy hermit, who there led an austere ascetic life. Under this master, Romuald made great progress in every virtue belonging to a religious state of life.

Peter Urseoli was then doge of Venice. He had been unjustly raised to that dignity two years before by a faction which had assassinated his predecessor Peter Candiano ; in which conspiracy he is said by some to have been an accomplice : though this is denied by the best Venetian historians.¹ This murder, however, paved the way for his advancement to the sovereignty, which the stings of his conscience would not suffer him quietly to enjoy.

This put him upon consulting St. Guarinus, a holy abbot of Catalonia, then at Venice, about what he was to do to be saved. The advice of St. Marinus and St. Romuald was also desired. These three unanimously agreed in proposing a monastic state, as affording the best opportunities for expiating his crimes. Urseoli acquiesced, and, under pretence of joining with his family at their villa, where he had ordered a great entertainment, set out privately with St. Guarinus, St. Romuald, and John Gradenigo, a Venetian noble-man of singular piety, and his son-in-law John Moresini, for St. Guarinus's monastery of St. Michael of Cusan, in that part of Catalonia which was then subject to France. Here Urseoli and Gradenigo made their monastic profession: Marinus and Romuald, leaving them under the conduct of Guarinus, retired into a desert near Cusan, and there led an eremitical life. Many flocked to them, and Romuald being made superior, first practised himself what he taught others, joining rigorous fasts, solitude, and continual prayer, with hard manual labour. He had an extraordinary ardour for prayer, which he exceedingly recommended to his disciples, in whom he could not bear to see the least sloth or tepidity with regard to the discharge of this duty ; saying, they had better recite one psalm with fervour, than a hundred with less devotion. His own fasts and mortifications were extremely rigorous, but he was more indulgent to others, and in particular to Urseoli, who had exchanged his monastery for St. Romuald's desert, where he lived under his conduct ; who, persevering in his penitential state, made a most holy end, and is honoured in Venice as a saint, with an office, on the 14th of January : and in the Roman Martyrology, published by Benedict XIV., on the 10th of that month. Romuald, in the beginning of his con-version and retreat from the world, was molested with various temptations. The devil sometimes directly solicited him to vice ; at other times he represented to him what he had forsaken, and that he had left it to ungrateful relations. He would sometimes suggest that what he did could not be agreeable to God ; at other times, that his labours: and difficulties were too heavy for man to bear. These and the like attempts, of the devil he defeated by watching and prayer, in which he passed the whole night ; and the devil strove in vain to divert him from this holy exercise by shaking his whole cell, and threatening to bury him in the ruins. Five years of grievous interior conflicts and buffetings of the enemy wrought in him a great purity of heart, and prepared him for most extraordinary heavenly communications. The conversion of Count Oliver, or Oliban, lord of that territory, added to his spiritual joy. That count, from a voluptuous worldling, and profligate liver, became a sincere penitent, and embraced the order of St. Benedict. He carried great treasures with him to Mount Cassino, but left his estate to his son. The example of Romuald had also such an influence on Sergius, his father, that to make atonement for his past sins and enormities, he had entered the monastery of St. Severus, near Ravenna ; but after some time spent there, he yielded so far to the devil's temptations, as to meditate a return into the world. This was a sore affliction to our saint, and determined him to return to Italy, to dissuade his father from leaving his monastery. But the inhabitants of the country where he lived had such an opinion of his sanctity, that they were resolved not to let him go. They therefore formed a brutish extravagant design to kill him, that they might keep at least his body among them, imagining it would be their protection and safeguard on perilous occasions. The saint being informed of their design, had recourse to David's stratagem, and feigned himself mad. Upon which the people, losing their high opinion of him, guarded him no longer. Being thus at liberty to execute his design, he set out on his journey to Ravenna, through the south of France. He arrived there in 994, and made use of all the authority his superiority in religion gave him over his father ; and by his exhortations, tears, and prayers, brought him to such an extraordinary degree of compunction and sorrow, as to prevail with him to lay aside all thoughts of leaving his monastery, where he spent the remainder of his days in great fervour, and died with the reputation of sanctity.

Romuald, having acquitted himself of his duty towards his father, retired into the marsh of Classis, and lived in a cell, remote from all mankind. The devil pursued him here with his former malice, he sometimes overwhelmed his imagination with melancholy, and once scourged him cruelly in his cell. Romuald at length cried out, " Sweetest Jesus, dearest Jesus, why hast thou forsaken me ? hast thou entirely delivered me over to my enemies ?" At that sweet name the wicked spirits betook themselves to flight, and such an excess of divine sweetness and compunction filled the breast of Romuald, that he melted into tears, and his heart seemed quite dissolved. He sometimes insulted his spiritual enemies, and cried out, " Are all your forces spent? have you no more engines against a poor despicable servant of God ? " Not long after, the monks of Classis chose Romuald for their abbot. The emperor Otho III., who was then at Ravenna, made use of his authority to engage the saint to accept the charge, and went in person to visit him in his cell, where he passed the night lying on the saint's poor bed. But nothing could make Romuald consent, till a synod of bishops then assembled at Ravenna, compelled him to it by threats of excommunication. The saint's inflexible zeal for the punctual observance of monastic discipline, soon made these monks repent of their choice, which they manifested by their irregular and mutinous behaviour. The saint being of a mild disposition, bore with it for some time, in hopes of bringing them to a right sense of their duty. At. length, finding all his endeavours to reform them ineffectual, he came to a resolution of leaving them, and went to the emperor, then besieging Tivoli, to acquaint him of it ; whom, when he could not prevail upon to accept of his resignation, the saint, in the presence of the Archbishop of Ravenna, threw down his crosier at his feet. This interview proved very happy for Tivoli ; for the emperor, though he had condemned that city to plunder, the inhabitants having rebelled and killed Duke Matholin, their governor, spared it at the intercession of St. Romuald. Otho having also, contrary to his solemn promise upon oath, put one Crescentius, a Roman senator to death, who had been the leader in the rebellion of Tivoli, and made his widow his concubine, he not only performed a severe public penance enjoined him by the saint, as his confessor, but promised, by St. Rornuald's advice, to abdicate his crown and retire into a convent during life ; but this he did not live to perform. The saint's remonstrances had a like salutary effect on Thamn, the emperor's favourite, prime-minister, and accomplice in the treachery before mentioned, who, with several other courtiers, received the religious habit at the hands of St. Romuald, and spent the remainder of his days in retirement and penance. It was a very edifying sight to behold several young princes and noblemen, who a little before had been remarkable for their splendid appearance and sumptuous living, now leading an obscure, solitary, penitential life in humility, penance, fasting, cold, and labour. They prayed, sung psalms, and worked. They all had their several employments : some spun, others knit, others tilled the ground, gaining their poor livelihood by the sweat of their brow. St. Boniface surpassed all the rest in fervour and mortification. He was the emperor's near relation, and so dear to him that he never called him by any other name than, My soul ! He excelled in music, and in all the liberal arts and sciences, and after having spent many years under the discipline of St. Romuald, was ordained bishop, and commissioned by the pope to preach to the infidels of Russia, whose king he converted by his miracles, but was beheaded by the king's brothers, who were themselves afterwards converted on seeing the miracles wrought on occasion of the martyr's death. Several other monks of St. Romuald's monastery met with the same cruel treatment in Sclavonia, whither they were sent by the pope to preach the gospel.

St. Romuald built many other monasteries, and continued three years at one he founded near Parenzo, one year in the community to settle it, and two in a neighbouring cell. Here he laboured some time under a spiritual dryness, not being able to shed one tear ; but he ceased not to continue his devotions with greater fervour. At last being in his cell, at those words of the psalmist, "I will give thee understanding, and will instruct thee," he was suddenly visited by God with an extraordinary light and spirit of compunction, which from that time never left him. By a supernatural light, the fruit of prayer, he understood the holy scriptures, and wrote an exposition of the psalms full of admirable unction. He often foretold things to come, and gave directions full of heavenly wisdom to all who came to consult him, especially to his religious who frequently came to ask his advice how to advance in virtue, and how to resist temptations he always sent them back to their cells full of an extraordinary cheerfulness. Through his continual weeping he thought others had a like gift, and often said to his monks, " Do not weep too much ; for it prejudices the sight and the head." It was his desire, whenever he could conveniently avoid it, not to say mass before a number of people, because he could not refrain from tears in offering that august sacrifice. The contemplation of the Divinity often transported him out of himself ; melting in tears, and burning with love, he would cry out : "Dear Jesus! my dear Jesus! my unspeakable desire ! my joy ! joy of the angels ! sweetness of the saints !" and the like, which he was heard to speak with a jubilation which cannot be expressed. To propagate the honour of God, he resolved, by the advice of the Bishop of Pola and others, to exchange his remote desert, for one where he could better advance his holy institute. The Bishop of Parenzo forbade any boat to carry him off, desiring earnestly to detain him ; but the Bishop of Poly sent one to fetch him. He miraculously calmed a storm at sea, and landed safe at Capreola. Coming to Bifurcum, he found the monks' cells too magnificent, and would lodge in none but that of one Peter, a man of extraordinary austerity, who never would live in a cell larger than four cubits. This Peter admired the saint's spirit of compunction, and said, that when he recited the psalms alternately with him, the holy man used to go out thirty times in a night as if for some necessity, but he saw it was to abandon himself a few moments to spiritual consolation, with which he overflowed at prayer, or to sighs and tears which he was not able to contain. Romuald sent to the counts of the province of Marino, to beg a little ground whereon to build a monastery. They hearing Romuald's name, offered him with joy whatever mountains, woods, or fields he would choose among them. He found the valley of Castro most proper. Exceeding great was the fruit of the blessed man's endeavours, and many put themselves with great fervour under his direction. Sinners, who did not forsake the world entirely, were by him in great multitudes moved to penance, and to distribute great part of their posessions liberally among the poor. The holy man seemed in the midst of them as a seraph incarnate, burning with heavenly ardours of divine love, and inflaming those who heard him speak. If he travelled, he rode or walked at a distance behind his brethren, reciting psalms, and watering his cheeks almost without ceasing with tears that flowed in great abundance.

The saint had always burnt with an ardent desire of martyrdom, which was much increased by the glorious crowns of some of his disciples, especially of St. Boniface. At last, not able to contain the ardour of his charity and desire to give his life for his Redeemer, he obtained the pope's license, and set out to preach the gospel in Hungary, in which mission some of his disciples accompanied him. He had procured two of them to be consecrated archbishops by the pope, declining himself the episcopal dignity ; but a violent illness which seized him on his entering Hungary, and returned as often as he attempted to proceed on his intended design, was a plain indication of the will of God in this matter ; so he returned home with seven of his associates. The rest, with the two archbishops, went forward, and preached the faith under the holy king, St. Stephen, suffering much for Christ, but none obtained the crown of martyrdom. Romuaid in his return built some monasteries in Germany, and laboured to reform others ; but this drew on him many persecutions. Yet all, even the great ones of the world, trembled in his presence. He refused to accept either water or wood, without paying for it, from Raynerius, marquis of Tuscia, because that prince had married the wife of. a relation whom he had killed. Raynerius, though a sovereign, used to say, that neither the emperor nor any mortal on earth could strike him with so much awe as Romuald's presence did : so powerful was the impression which the Holy Ghost, dwelling in his breast, made on the most haughty sinners. Hearing that a certain Venetian had by simony obtained the abbey of Classis, he hastened thither. The unworthy abbot strove to kill him, to preserve his unjust dignity. He often met with the like plots and assaults from several of his own disciples, which procured him the repeated merit, though not the crown, of martyrdom. The pope, having called him to Rome, he wrought there several miracles, built some monasteries in its neighbourhood, and converted innumerable souls to God. Returning from Rome, he made a long stay at Mount Sitria. A young nobleman addicted to impurity, being exasperated at the saint's severe remonstrances, had the impudence to accuse him of a scandalous crime. The monks, by a surprising levity, believed the calumny, enjoined him a most severe penance, forbid him to say mass, and excommunicated him. He bore all with patience and in silence, as if really he had been guilty, and refrained from going to the altar for six months. In the seventh month he was admonished by God to obey no longer so unjust and irregular a sentence, pronounced without any authority and without grounds. He accordingly said mass again, and with such raptures of devotion, as obliged him to continue long absorbed in ecstasy. He passed seven-years in Sitria, in his cell in strict silence, but his example did the office of his tongue and moved many to penance. In his old age, instead of relaxing, he increased his austerities and fasts. He had three hair-shirts which he now and then changed. He never would admit of the least thing to give a savour to the herbs or meal-gruel on which he supported himself. If any thing was brought him better dressed, he, for the greater self-denial applied it to his nostrils, and said, "Oh, gluttony, gluttony, thou shalt never taste this : perpetual war is declared against thee." His disciples, also were remarkable for their austere lives, went always barefoot, and looked excessive pale with continual fasting. No other drink was known among them but water, except in sickness. St. Romuald wrought in this place many miraculous cures of the sick. At last, having settled his disciples here in a monastery which he had built for them, he departed for Bifurcum.

The holy Emperor St. Henry II. who had succeeded Otho III. coming into Italy, and being desirous to see the saint, sent an honourable embassy to him to induce him to come to court. At the earnest request of his disciples he complied, but not without great reluctance on his side. The emperor received him with the greatest marks of honour and esteem, and rising out of his chair, said to him, " I wish my soul was like yours." The saint observed a strict silence the whole time the interview lasted, to the great astonishment of the court. The emperor being convinced that this did not proceed from pride or disdain, but from humility and a desire of being despised, was so far from being offended at it, that it occasioned his conceiving a higher esteem and veneration for him. The next day he received from him whole-some advice in his closet. The German noblemen showed him the greatest respect as he passed through the court, and plucked the very hairs out of his garments for relics, at which he was so much grieved, that he would have immediately gone back if he had not been stopped. The emperor gave him a monastery on Mount Amiatus.

The most famous of all his monasteries is that of Camaldoli, near Arezzo, in Tuscany, on the frontiers of the ecclesiastical state, thirty miles east from Florence, founded by him about the year 1009. It lies beyond a mountain, very difficult to pass over, the descent from which on the opposite side is almost a direct precipice looking down upon a pleasant large valley, which then belonged to a lord called Maldnli, who gave it the saint, and from him it retained the name Camaldoli.¹ In this place St. Romuald built a monastery, and by the several observances he added to St. Benedict's rule, gave birth to that new order called Camaldoli, in which he united the cenobitic and eremitical life..

After seeing in a vision his monks mounting up a ladder to heaven all in white he changed their habit from black to white. The hermitage is two short miles distant from the monastery. It is a mountain quite overshaded by a dark wood of fir-trees. In it are seven clear springs of water. The very sight of this solitude in the midst of the forest helps to fill the mind with compunction and a love of heavenly contemplation. On entering it, we meet with a chapel of St. Antony for travellers to pray in before they advance any further. Next are the cells and lodgings for the porters. Somewhat further is the church, which is large, well-built, and richly adorned. Over the door is a clock, which strikes so loud that it may be heard all over the desert. On the left side of the church is the cell in which St. Romuald lived, when he first established these hermits. Their cells, built of stone, have each a little garden walled round. A constant fire is allowed to he kept in every cell on account of the coldness of the air throughout the year : each cell has also a chapel in which they may say mass : they call their superior, major. The whole hermitage is now enclosed with a wall : none are allowed to go out of it ; but they may walk in the woods and alleys within the enclosure at discretion. Every thing is sent them from the monastery in the valley : their food is every day brought to each cell ; and all are supplied with wood and necessaries that they may have no dissipation or hindrance in their contemplation. Many hours of the day are allotted to particular exercises ; and no rain or snow stops any one from meeting in the church to assist at the divine office. They are obliged to strict silence in all public common places; and every' where during their Lents, also on Sundays, Holydays, Fridays, and other days of abstinence, and always from Complin till prime the next day.

For a severer solitude, St. Romuald added a third kind of life ; that of a recluse. After a holy life in the hermitage, the superior grants leave to any that ask it, and seem called by God, to live for ever shut up in their cells, never speaking to any one but to the superior when he visits them, and to the brother who brings them necessaries. Their prayers and austerities are doubled, and their fasts more severe and more frequent. St. Romuald condemned himself to this kind of life for several years; and fervent imitators have never since failed in this solitude.

St. Romuald died in his monastery in the valley of Castro in the marquisate of Ancona. As he was born about the year 956, he must have died seventy years and some months old, not a hundred and twenty, as the present copies of his life have it. The day of his death was the 19th of June ; but his principal feast is appointed by Clement VIII, on the 7th of February, the day of his translation. His body was found entire and uncorrupt five years after his death, and again in 1466. But his tomb being sacrilegiously opened, and his body stolen in 1480, it fell to dust,. in which state it was translated to Fabriano, and there deposited in the great church, all but the remains of one arm, sent to Camaldoli. God has honoured his relics with many miracles. The order of Camaldoli is now divided into five congregations, under so many generals or majors. The life of the hermits is very severe, though something mitigated since the time of St. Romuald. The Cenobites are more like Benedictines, and perhaps were not directly established by St. Romuald, says F. Helyot.

If we are not called upon to practise the extraordinary austerities of many saints we cannot but confess that we live under an indispensable necessity of leading mortified lives, both in order to fulfil our obligation of doing penance, and to subdue our passions and keep our senses and interior faculties under due command. The appetites of the body are only to be reduced by universal temperance, and assiduous mortification and watchfulness over all the senses. The interior powers of the soul must be restrained, as the imagination, memory, and understanding their proneness to distraction, and the itching curiosity of the mind, must be curbed, and their repugnance to attend to spiritual things corrected by habits of recollection, holy meditation, and prayer. Above all, the will must be rendered supple and pliant by frequent self-denial, which must reach and keep in subjection all its most trifling sallies and inclinations. If any of these, how insignificant so ever they may seem, are not restrained and vanquished, they will prove sufficient often to disturb the quiet of the mind, and betray one into considerable inconveniences, faults, and follies. Great weaknesses are sometimes fed by temptations which seem almost of too little moment to deserve notice: and though these infirmities should not arise to any great height, they always fetter the soul, and are an absolute impediment to her progress toward perfection.

(1) Sanuti tells us that St. Peter Urseoli, from his cradle, devoted himself with his whole heart to the divine service, and proposed to himself in all his actions the holy will and the greater glory of God. He built in the church of St. Mark a chapel, in which the body of that evangelist was secretly laid, the place being known by very few. Being chosen doge, he refused that dignity for a long time with great obstinacy, but at length suffered himself to be overcome by the importunity of the people. He had held it only two years and eight months, when he retired. Sanuti, Vite de Duchi di Venezia, c. 976. Muratori, Reram Italicar. Scriptores,t. xxii. p. 564.