February 28th - Sts. Romanus and Lupicinus; St. Oswald
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Saints Romanus and Lupicinus his brother
Founder and Abbots
(†460 and †480)

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 conflux of the Saône and Rhone. 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, at the conflux of the rivers Bienne and Aliere, where he found a plot of ground fit for culture, and some trees which furnished him with wild fruit. Here he spent his time in praying, reading, and laboring for his subsistence. Lupicinus, his brother, came to him there, accompanied by several other disciples, who then were followed by still others, drawn by the fame of the virtue and miracles of these two Saints. Other monasteries became necessary. Saint Romanus, when he was 54 years old, was ordained a priest by Saint Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers; he remained simple in his conduct and never sought any privileges among his brethren.

As their numbers increased, 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 nuns cloistered there in prayer and sacrifice. They kept strict silence, and like their brothers, sons or relatives in the nearby monastery of Lauconne, considered themselves as persons dead to the present life.

The two brothers governed the monks jointly and in great harmony, 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 mortified, reproached him 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 in exemplary piety; and finally, that among the brethren who remained outside the monastery, certain ones had religiously practiced the maxims they had learned in the monastery, even becoming priests and authorities for other religious functions or offices.

Saint Romanus died about the year 460, and Saint Lupicinus survived him for twenty years.

*On leap years, the feast day of these Saints is celebrated on February 29.

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Saint Oswald
Archbishop of York
(† 992)

Oswald was of a noble Saxon family; he was endowed with a very rare and handsome appearance and with a singular piety of soul. Brought up by his uncle, Saint Odo, Archbishop of Canterbury, he was chosen, while still young, as dean of the secular canons of Winchester, at that time very lax. His attempt to reform them was a failure, and he saw, with that infallible instinct which so often guides the Saints in critical times, that the true remedy for the corruption of the clergy was the restoration of monastic life.

He therefore went to France and took the habit of Saint Benedict. When he returned to England it was to receive the news of Odo's death. He found, however, a new patron in Saint Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, through whose influence he was nominated to the see of Worcester. To these two Saints, together with Ethelwold of Winchester, the monastic revival of the tenth century is mainly due.

Oswald's first care was to deprive of their benefices all disorderly secular clerics, whom he replaced as far as possible by religious priests. He himself founded seven religious houses. Considering that in the hearts of the secular canons of Winchester there were yet some sparks of virtue, he would not at once dismiss them, but rather reformed them through a holy artifice. Adjoining their cathedral church he built a chapel in honor of the Mother of God, causing it to be served by a body of strict religious. He himself assisted at the divine Office there, and his example was followed by the people. The canons, finding themselves isolated and the church deserted, chose rather to embrace the religious life than continue to injure their own souls, and be also a mockery to their people, through the contrast offered by their worldliness and the regularity of their religious brethren.

Later, as Archbishop of York, Saint Oswald met a like success in his efforts. God manifested His approval of his zeal by discovering to him the relics of his great predecessor at Worcester, Saint Wilfrid, which he reverently translated to the church of that city. He died while washing the feet of the poor, as he did daily during Lent, on February 29, 992.

*On leap years, the feast day of this Saint is celebrated on February 29.
SS. Romanus & Lupicinus, February 28
(Excerpt from Édouard Daras, Les Vies des Saints)

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Romanus was born in Burgundy in 399. At the age of 35, he decided to live as a hermit in the area of Condat in eastern France. His younger brother, Lupicinus, followed him there. They later founded several monasteries, including Condat Abbey, Lauconne – later Saint-Lupicin as Lupicinus was buried there – and La Balme – later Saint Romain-de-Roche where Romanus was buried – among others.

During their time as hermits, they were enjoying a harmonious and happy existence when the Devil decided to destroy their peace. Every time they would kneel to pray, the Devil would send a shower of sharp stones to fall upon them. Both bore the suffering for some time, but, seeing that the trial continued without abating, they decided to abandon the place.

Arriving at a village, they were hosted by a poor woman, who asked them whence they came. They told her the whole story. The woman reprimanded them: “You should fight courageously against the Devil and not fear the traps and hatred of the one who has been so often defeated by the friends of God. If he attacks men, it is because he is trying to prevent them from practicing virtue and thus ascending to the place from which he fell.”

After leaving the house, they pondered upon their weakness and the meager battle they had waged. They retraced their steps and returned; then, practicing prayer and patience, they conquered the enemy.

Later, the two brothers founded numerous monasteries, which they governed jointly and visited frequently. Lupicinus was very severe and did not forgive the least misstep. Romanus, on the other hand, was much more merciful.

It happened that, while visiting a monastery in Germany, Lupicinus found an excessive quantity of vegetables and fish stocked in the kitchen. Scandalized, he commanded that everything should be cooked together and given to the monks to eat. The resulting dish was so repugnant that 12 of the religious revolted and left the monastery.

Romanus was informed of the facts in a vision. When Lupicinus returned, Romanus said to him: “My brother, it is better not to visit the sheep than to disperse them” Lupicinus answered: “Do not show too much pity, my dear brother. Is it not necessary to separate the chaff from the wheat in the field of the Lord? Those who left were proud men in whose souls the Lord no longer was dwelling.”

Romanus acceded, but thenceforth he wept and prayed for their return. Later, God redirected to the monastery those 12 rebels, who returned to make penance.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

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