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St. Peter Urseolus

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Feastday: January 10
Birth: 928
Death: 987
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Benedictine hermit. Also called Peter Orseolo, he was a member of one of the most noble houses of Venice and, at the age of twenty, became an admiral in the Venetian Navy. After a series of successful campaigns against the Dalmatian pirates, he was elected Doge of Venice in 967, supposedly securing his elevation by poisoning his predecessor Peter Candiani IV, as was charged by St. Peter Damian. For two years Peter ruled with consummate skill, assisting Venice to weather a series of political crises. Then, without any warning and without informing his family, he disappeared from Venice and secretly entered the Benedictine abbey of Cuxa, in the Spanish Pyrenees. There he devoted himself to a life of severe austerity and asceticism, working as a humble sacrist until St. Romuald suggested that he become a hermit. He lived alone until his death.

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