Daily Martyrology for February 21

In 1072, at Faenza, St. Peter Damian, monk, bishop and doctor of the church. He was born into a poor family in Ravenna. His brother, a priest, provided for his education, and Peter became a professor. In 1035, he joined the community of hermits founded by St. Romuald at Fonte Avellana. Throughout his life he was devoted to the solitary life and the reform of the clergy. His monastery became the center of a congregation. He supported Pope Leo IX, who established the College of Cardinals. Leo made him a cardinal and he served the church on various missions. He put the eremitical movement on a firm theological basis, and his influenced was the growth of the Camaldolese Order.

At Tyburn, in 1595, the martyrdom of St. Robert Southwell, Jesuit priest. After being educated at Douai, he joined the Jesuits in Rome. Sent to England, he attended a strategy meeting of Catholics which was also attended by the composer William Byrd. From that meeting he developed a pamphlet called Mary Magdalene’s Funeral Tears. He then became chaplain to the Countess of Arundel and while in her mansion wrote An Epistle of Comfort. He was captured and tortured, imprisoned for three years, and finally hanged, drawn and quartered. By then Robert Southwell was a famous poet. His brutal execution created a revulsion against such barbarous treatment of Catholics.

In Portugal, the three holy children of Fatima. In 1917, an angel appeared to them; then the Blessed Virgin appeared and asked them to say the rosary for the conversion of sinners. Two of them died shortly afterward in a flu epidemic. The third, Lucia, became a nun. She conveyed a request that the world be dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which several popes subsequently did.

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Our daily martyrology was written by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB. Copyright © 2008 by the Monastery of the Ascension, Jerome, ID 83338.