James 3.13-18; Psalm 18; Mark 9.14-29
Peter Damian (1007-72) was born at Ravenna to a large and noble, though poor, family. He studied theology and canon law at Ravenna, then at Faenza, and finally at the University of Parma. In 1035, however, he abandoned teaching and joined the hermit monks of Fonte Avellana, near Gubbio, seeking a life of solitude and prayer. In 1043 he became Prior of Fonte Avellana and he continued in that position until his death.
Although living in the solitude of the cloister, Peter closely observed the fortunes of the Church at large and he wrote actively about the reform of abuses in the church, publishing a steady stream of open letters in particular about the vices of priests and bishops. In November 1057 Pope Stephen IX made him Cardinal Bishop of Ostia. Dante placed him in one of the highest circles of Pardiso as a great predecessor of St Francis of Assisi. In 1828 Pope Leo XII declared him a Doctor (teacher) of the Church.