St. Peter Damian (+1072) had a rough start. At his birth, an elder brother protested so strongly that the family could not support a new child, that his mother refused to nurse him and poor Peter nearly died. A maid in the household, by example and reproaches, finally brought the mother to her senses. Peter nearly died other times, as well, but was miraculously saved by Our Lady.
Life in the Church in the eleventh century was not much different than life today. As a professed monk and prior, and then as the Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia, Italy, he had to deal with clergy sexual scandals, simony, an antipope, schism and political intrigue. However, this holy man had two big devotions which were the themes of his speaking and writing: the Virgin Mary and the Holy Eucharist. And, with the help of Our Lord and His Mother, he strove for the purification of the Church in those deplorable times.
It was St. Peter Damian who coined the oft-used phrase
“To Jesus through Mary,” which became De Montfort’s favorite. He also wrote and promoted the Office of the Blessed Virgin for his monks, and they flourished.
St. Peter Damian wrote almost a thousand years ago: “Without the consent of Mary, God would not be-come Man. The reasons for this were first that we might feel under great obligation to her and second that we might realize that the salvation of all is left to her care.”