by Russell Fleur Gallego
St. Romuald is the founder of the Camaldolese Order. The Camaldolese Order is an independent branch of the Benedictine order that was founded in 1012.
Here are five known facts about St. Romuald as we commemorate his feast day on June 19th:
1. HE IS FROM AN ARISTOCRATIC FAMILY
He was born in Ravenna, in the northeastern part of Italy to the Onesti family. His father was Sergius degli Onesti, a Duke and his mother is Traversara Traversari.
2. HE WAS A WITNESS OF A MURDER CASE
At the age of 20, he witnessed his father kill a relative over a duel because of a property. This event caused him to be devastated and went to Sant’ Apollinare in Classe to do penance for 40 days. These 40 days of penance became his foundation in living his life of penance.
3. HE GUIDED HIS FATHER WITH HIS VOCATION AS A MONK
Sergius degli Onesti, after realizing his mistakes, repented and became a monk. He had struggles while he was pursuing his vocation. This prompted Romuald to return to Italy and guide his father in fulfilling his vocation.
4. HE SPENT 30 YEARS TRAVELLING IN ITALY TO SERVE THE CHURCH
Throughout his 30 years of travelling in Italy, he had founded and reformed monasteries and hermitages as an advisor of the Roman Emperor Otto III.
5. HE HAD HIS FEAST DAY MOVED THRICE
Originally, his feast day was not included in the Tridentine calendar. However, it was celebrated on June 19th in 1594, since it was the date of his death. After a year, Pope Clement VII moved it the 7th of February because it is the anniversary of the transfer of his relics to Fabriano, Italy in 1481. Moreover, in 1969 it was moved back to the date of his death.
Here is St. Romuald’s brief rule for Camaldolese monks:
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.