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ST. EQUITIUS, ABBOT

HE flourished in Abruzzo at the same time that St. Bennet established his rule at Mount Cassino. In his youth he was molested with violent temptations of the flesh, to which he opposed austerities and continual prayer; and at length God was pleased entirely to free him from the stings of that domestic enemy. He peopled the whole province of Valeria with fervent monks, who lived dispersed through the woods and fields, and were all employed in prayer and manual labor. St. Equitius visited and instructed them, and sometimes invited and exhorted the people in the towns and villages to the love and service of God. He being only a layman, this was misconstrued by some persons, as if the servant of God had thereby usurped an ecclesiastical function; but the pope, after being fully informed, forbade him to be interrupted in giving private exhortations, an office of charity in which the Holy Ghost seemed to be his master. He worked the whole day in the fields, except when he was taken up in the visitation of his disciples, and only returned to his hermitage in the evening fatigued with his labor. He went in coarse and ragged clothes, and his whole life breathed the air of austere penance and fervent charity and devotion. He took under his direction a numerous monastery of holy virgins, but never allowed any young monk to come near it. He was favored with the gift of prophecy, and died about the year 540. His remains are kept with honor in the church of St. Laurence in Aquila. See St. Gregory, Dia1.1. 1, c. 4.










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