Friday, February 28, 2014

Saints Romanus and Lupicinus

The saints of the day for February 28 are SS. Romanus and Lupicinus.

Saint Romanus, born in the late fourth century, left his relatives and spent some time in the monastery of Ainay at Lyons, near a large church at the point where the Saône and Rhone Rivers meet. The faithful had built it in honor of the famous martyrs of that region, whose ashes were thrown into the Rhone. His purpose for this retreat was to study all the practices of monastic life, and he obtained from the Abbot of Ainay some recently written books on the lives of the Desert Fathers.

At the age of thirty-five, Romanus retired into the forests of Mount Jura, between France and Switzerland, and fixed his abode at a place called Condate, near two rivers, where he found a plot of ground fit for culture, and some trees which furnished him with wild fruit. Here he spent his time praying, reading, and laboring for his survival. Lupicinus, his brother, came to him there, accompanied by several other disciples, who were followed by others, drawn there by the fame of the virtue and miracles of these two saints. When he was 54 years old, Romanus was ordained a priest by Saint Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers.

As they grew in number, the brothers built several monasteries, as well as a convent for their sister and other women, called La Baume. Before Saint Romanus died, there were already five hundred cloistered nuns. The nuns offered prayer and sacrifice and kept strict silence.

The two brothers governed the monks jointly and harmoniously, though they were of different dispositions; the gentleness of the first was balanced by the severity of the other, according to need. When a group of rebellious monks departed, Saint Romanus, by his patience and prayer, won them back, and if they departed a second or even a third time, received them with the same kindness. When Lupicinus, whose habits were very severe, criticized Romanus for his leniency, he replied that God alone knew the depths of hearts, and that among those who never departed, there were some whose fervor had declined, whereas some of those who returned after leaving even three times, were serving God with exemplary piety. He also explained that some who remained outside the monastery religiously practiced the rules they had learned in the monastery, even becoming priests. Saint Romanus died about the year 460, and Saint Lupicinus survived him for twenty years.

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