Today is the feast of Saint Romuald, monk, abbot, and founder of the Camaldolese Benedictines. Romuald was a mid-10th century man of an aristocratic family who after living a life of craziness and witnessing immorality of friends and family, he move to follow the Lord caused him to radically live differently than the norm.
Camaldolese Benedictines are not well known in the USA. There are only three foundations of the Camaldolese monks and nuns in the USA: 2 in California (monks) and one in New York State (nuns).
The Camaldolese monks in Rome, for example, have as their main church, Saint Gregory the Great. From there, Gregory sent the Benedictines to England. Today, the Camaldolese monks have somewhat an ecumenical outreach to non-Catholics, and they have had an on-going relationship with the Archbishop of Canterbury.
In 2007, Pope Benedict wrote to the Camaldolese Order on the feast of Saint Peter Damian. Read the letter. It speaks of the charism of the Camadolese vocation as one of solitude and communion. This is not an esoteric vocation: it is a manner of living that grounds a person in the essential.
In 2012, the Camadolese Benedictines observed a 1000 years of being a faithful community in the Church, known as the Holy Hermitage of Camaldoli. At this time, Pope Benedict said,
“Saint Romuald, the father of the Camaldolese monks, striving for an eremitic life and discipline, wandered through Italy for many years, building monasteries and tirelessly promoting the evangelical life among monks.”
And so, what does this say to us? The life of Romuald and what Benedict has highlighted, we can form our lives around the principles of silence, prayer, communion with God and others, living according to Good News. This is a serious proposition. This is what Jesus asks of us.
With the Church, we pray:
O God, who through Saint Romuald renewed the manner of life of hermits in your Church, grant that, denying ourselves and following Christ, we may merit to reach the heavenly realms on high.