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Saint Romuald

How a duel sent him into solitude

Saint Romuald

Birthplace: Ravenna, Italy

Feast Day: June 19

Claim to fame: Born to Italian nobility, Romuald enjoyed the pleasures of his family’s wealth and position during his early years. His life shifted dramatically, however, after he watched his father kill a relative in a duel over property. Overcome with shame by his father’s actions, Romuald withdrew to the monastery of St. Apollinare to serve penance for his father’s sin as if it were his own. There, Romuald embraced the monastic life and sought an even more austere existence than the one practiced by the Benedictine monks. After several years of devoted study and prayer, he was made an abbot. But when he attempted to impose his stricter discipline on the monks, they strongly resented his reforms. Romuald left to wander the mountains in solitude.

Why he is a saint: After establishing several small hermitages, he embarked on a mission to evangelize the pagans of Hungary. But his journey was interrupted by sickness. Convinced his illness was a sign that God wanted him to remain in Italy, Romuald returned to his homeland. He traveled extensively through the country’s central and northern regions, establishing hermitages and attracting disciples along the way.

Best quote: In 1005, Romuald went to Val-di-Castro for about two years. When he left, he prophesied that he would return to die there alone and unaided.

How he died: He built more hermitages in the mountains before retiring to his cell at a monastery he had founded in the Val-di-Castro. As he predicted, he died alone in his cell on June 19 in about the year 1027.

Prayer: Dear Father, as St. Romuald searched for solitude in which to serve you, may I always make quiet time in my busy life to serve you, too. For you are the great Creator, and the one who will bring me peace. May I do your will in my everyday life, and through my deeds, show your love to others. For you are our salvation. Amen.