Romuauld the Hermit

A brief word on Saint Romuauld (+June 19, 1025/27), before today ends, a tenth-century monk, who founded the strict Camaldolese Order, named after the benefactor, Maldoli, who first donated the land (campos, or field) to them. After a dissolute youth (according to the perhaps even stricter Peter Damien, who wrote his biography fifteen years after his death) Romuauld sought spiritual perfection in the wilderness, reviving western eremitism, that strange, solitary life of a hermit, which I have heard dawn on the minds of certain spiritually-minded married men after a certain time of connubial bliss.

There was a town in Quebec, right across the river from the capital, named after the saint, but in 2002 it was amalgamated into the larger city of Levi. Ah well. There is still a majestic church named after Romuauld, worth the ferry ride across.

Romuauld was known as a saint, and his striking personality, the fruit of a life of deep, constant prayer and asceticism, has marked the history of Western monasticism forever.

In his Rule, he emphasized living, breathing, by the Psalms, allowing their words to penetrate our inmost being.

As the saint put it:

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.[9]

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


Saint Romuauld, ora pro nobis.