Saint Peter Damian was born into a noble but poor family, orphaned young and left in the hands of a brother who treated him as a slave. Peter’s other brother, a priest, provided Peter an extensive education in theology and canon law. Peter joined a strict order of Benedictines and lead an austere monastic life of prayer, writing treatises, hymns, and letters. He had a great devotion to the Virgin Mary. Eventually, he was made abbot of the order, then a Bishop, and lastly a papal legate. He was a chief forerunner of the Hildebrandine reforms, a peacemaker and troubleshooter, condemning simony and rampant clerical sexual unchastity during the most scandal-plagued 11th-12th c. of the Western Church. St. Peter died of a fever, surrounded by monks in prayer.