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June 19

St Romuald - June 19

Saint Romuald
Abott, Founder
(Around 951 – 1027)

“Empty yourself completely and sit waiting, content with the grace of God, like the chick who tastes nothing and eats nothing but what his mother brings him.”

Saint Romuald’s Brief Rule

His Early Years

Romuald was born around 951 in Ravenna, Italy of a noble family to the aristocratic Onesti family. His father was Sergius degli Onesti and his mother was Traversara Traversari. Romuald indulged in the pleasures and sins of the world common to a tenth-century nobleman.

Abbot

Horrified, after his father killed a relative in a dispute over some property, at which he was forced to be present, Romuald sought to atone for the crime by doing 40 days of penance for his father at the monastery of St. Apollinare at Classe, Italy near Ravenna.

These 40 days confirmed Romuald’s monastic calling, as they became the foundation for an entire life of penance. Romuald became a Benedictine monk and then, from 996 to 999, he was the abbot. Romuald’s strict asceticism brought him into conflict with some of the other monks. So, he left the area near Ravenna and went to Venice, where he became the disciple of the hermit Marinus and lived a life of extraordinary severity.

His Father Became A Monk

After guiding his penitent father in the way of salvation, Romuald traveled throughout Italy serving the Church. By 1012, Romuald, aiming to restore the primitive rule to the Order of Saint Benedict, succeeded in establishing or reforming almost 100 hermitages and monasteries in Italy and in France. However, these were not connected to one another in the manner of a distinct religious order. He tried to evangalize the Slavs, but met with little success.

Established Hermitages and Monasteries

After guiding his penitent father in the way of salvation, Romuald traveled throughout Italy serving the Church. By 1012, Romuald, aiming to restore the primitive rule to the Order of Saint Benedict, succeeded in establishing or reforming almost 100 hermitages and monasteries in Italy and in France. However, these were not connected to one another in the manner of a distinct religious order. He tried to evangalize the Slavs, but met with little success.

Founded the Camaldolese Order

In 1012, according to legend, a man named Maldolus had a vision of monks dressed in white ascending a ladder to Heaven. Prompted by this vision, Maldolus donated a piece of land he owned in Camaldoli, located in the Diocese of Arezzo in Tuscany, to Romuald. With this land, Romuald went on to establish the Camaldolese Order – one of the Italian branches of the Benedictines. It became the site of five hermits’ quarters, and a full monastery soon after. This combination of hermits’ cells and community life, together with other distinctive features, gave this monastery and its later affiliates a distinct identity and charism.

Romuald’s approach to the contemplative life, reminiscent of the early Desert Fathers, can be seen in the short piece of writing known as his “Brief Rule.” It reads as follows:

“Sit in your cell as in paradise. Put the whole world behind you and forget it. Watch your thoughts like a good fisherman watching for fish. The path you must follow is in the Psalms – never leave it.”

“If you have just come to the monastery, and in spite of your good will you cannot accomplish what you want, take every opportunity you can to sing the Psalms in your heart and to understand them with your mind. And if your mind wanders as you read, do not give up; hurry back and apply your mind to the words once more.”

“Realize above all that you are in God’s presence, and stand there with the attitude of one who stands before the emperor. Empty yourself completely and sit waiting, content with the grace of God, like the chick who tastes nothing and eats nothing but what his mother brings him.”

Sufferings of a Saint

Like all the saints, Romuald fought a lifelong battle against the assaults of devils and men. In the beginning of his spiritual life, he experienced numerous temptations, which he conquered by vigilance and prayer. More than one attempt was made on his life, but Divine Providence enabled him to escape from the danger. Like many servants of God, he also became the victim of calumny, which he bore in patience and silence. In his old age, he increased his austerities instead of diminishing them.

His Death

The last fourteen years of Romuald’s life were spent in seclusion at Mount Sitria, Bifolco, and Val di Castro. Romuald lived in the vicinity of the city of Paranzo for three years. In the first year, he built a monastery and appointed an abbot with monks. For the next two years, Romulad remained there in seclusion. Wherever Romuald might arrange to live, he would follow the same pattern. First, he would build an oratory with an altar in a cell; then he would shut himself in and forbid access. Finally, after he had lived in many places, perceiving that his end was near, he returned to the monastery he had built in the valley of Castro. While he awaited with certainty his approaching death, he ordered a cell to be constructed there with an oratory in which he might isolate himself and preserve silence until death.

from a biography of Saint Romuald by Saint Peter Damian

Romuald died alone in his in his monastery cell on June 19, 1027 at Val-di-Castro, Italy of natural causes. Approximately 400 years later, his body was exhumed and found to be incorrupt. His relics were translated from Val di Castro, near Camaldoli to Fabriano, Italy on February 7, his feast day until 1969, when it was changed to date of his death – June 19.

The Camaldolese Order was approved in 1072 – about 45 years after Romuald’s death. The Camaldolese monks still exist as a small independent order of Benedictines and continue the way of life Romuald began. There are Camaldolese monasteries and hermitages in Italy, Poland, France, India, Brazil and the USA.

Born :                   Around 951 in Ravenna, Italy

Died:                    June 19, 1027 at Val-di-Castro, Italy

Beatified:            Unknown

Canonized:         1595 by Pope Clement VIII

Feast Day:          June 19

Patron Saint:     Camaldolese Order; Camaldoli, Italy; Fabriano, Italy; Sansepolcro, Italy; Suwalki, Poland

Source:

Reflection 

Saint Romuald’s life shows us how God brings good out of evil. He indulged in the pleasures and sins of the world using the substantial wealth available to him. After witnessing his father kill a neighbor in a duel, this sin prompted Saint Romuald 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. Eventually, Saint Romuald would go on to not only establish almost 100 hermitages and monasteries in Italy and in France, but also establish the Camaldolese Order – one of the Italian branches of the Benedictines.

Today in the quiet solitude of prayer bring your own sins, the sins of others, their ill will against you, your own mistakes and misfortunes, to the throne of God’s mercy and love for forgiveness so that God may bring good out of evil.

Prayers

Saint Romuald,

God called you to a new and glorious vocation, which He wanted to gift to the Church through you. You responded in generosity and left a legacy of holy men who followed. Please pray for me, that I will more fully commit myself to a life of silence, solitude, and prayer. In that way, I will discover the beautiful life that you discovered so as to more fully prepare my soul for Heaven.

Saint Romuald, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

Aleteia – A pilgrimage to the “small cells” of St. Romuald

All Saints & Martyrs – Saint Romuald

America Needs Fatima – Saint Romuald

AnaStpaul – Saint of the Day – 19 June – St Romuald (c 951-1027)

Bartleby – Rev. Alban Butler Volume XI: November. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. November 4 St. Charles Borromeo, Cardinal, Archbishop of Milan, Confessor

Catholic Culture – St. Romuald

Catholic Exchange – St. Romuald (Abbot)

Catholic Ireland – Jun 19 – St Romuald of Ravenna: (950-1027)

Catholic Lane – St. Romuald, Abbot

Catholic Online – St. Romuald

CatholicSaints.Info – Saints of the Day – Romuald, Abbot, Founder – by Katherine I Rabenstein

Daily Prayers – Romuald

Franciscan Media – Saint Romuald 

Independent Catholic News – St Romuald

Loyola Press – Saint Romuald Feast day June 19

My Catholic Life – June 19: Saint Romuald, Abbot

National Catholic Register – St. Romuald, Hermit, Pray for Us!

New Advent – Keogh, W. (1908). St. Charles Borromeo. In The Catholic Encyclopedia

Newman Ministry – Saint Romuald

RC Spirituality (Uncle Eddy) – St. Romuald

Sanctoral – Saint Romuald Founder and Abbot (906-1027)

Saints, Feast, Family – Saint Romuald’s Story

Saint Mary’s Press – Saint Romuald (c.951-1027)

The Daily Mass – St. Romuald

uCatholic – Saint Charles Borromeo

Video Link

Cradio Saint of the Day: Saint Romuald – YouTube (CatholicSaints.Info)

St Romuald – YouTube (Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network – USA)