Saint Peter Damian was a significant figure in the Catholic Church during the 11th century. He was born in February of 1007 in Ravenna, Italy, and was the youngest of a large family. He lost his parents at a young age and was taken in by his brother, who treated him poorly. Despite this, Peter Damian was determined to pursue an education, and he eventually became a renowned scholar.
Peter Damian entered the Benedictine Order and became a monk at the age of 25. He quickly became known for his piety, and his intelligence was recognized by his superiors, who sent him to study theology in Rome. Peter Damian wrote several treatises on theology, including "The Book of Gomorrah," which condemned the widespread practice of homosexuality among priests and monks in his time.
In 1057, Peter Damian was appointed Cardinal Bishop of Ostia, which is now a suburb of Rome. He was known for his zealous commitment to reforming the Church, and he worked tirelessly to combat simony (the buying and selling of church offices) and the practice of clerical marriage. He also worked to improve the education and behavior of priests and monks.
Saint Peter Damian is the patron saint of reformers and those who seek to reform the Church. He is also the patron saint of sufferers from sexual temptation, as well as of those who have moral or spiritual conflicts. His feast day is celebrated on February 21st.
In his September 9th, 2009 general audience on the saint, Pope Benedict XVI described him as "one of the most significant figures of the 11th century ... a lover of solitude and at the same time a fearless man of the Church, committed personally to the task of reform."
Saint Peter Damian died on February 22nd, 1072, at the age of 65. He was canonized by Pope Leo XII in 1828, and his feast day was officially established by Pope Leo XIII in 1891. Peter Damian is remembered for his piety, his intellectual brilliance, and his dedication to reforming the Church during a tumultuous period in its history.