Saint John Gualbert: Reconciled to a mortal enemy through the Sign of Christ's Holy Cross
John Gualbert, born of a noble Florentine family, took up a military career at his father's wish. His only brother, Hugh, was slain by a relative, and it happened that on Good Friday, attended by armed soldiers, John met the slayer alone and unarmed on the road where they could not avoid each other. Because of John's reverence for the sign of the holy Cross, which his enemy, seeing death at hand, made with his arms in supplication, John graciously spared him and received him as a brother. Then he went to the Church of St. Minias, where, as he adored the Crucified, the image bent its head to him. Moved by this, he gave up the military life and, at the persuasion of St. Romuald, then living in the hermitage of Camaldoli, he put on the monastic habit. Later he founded a monastic Order under the Rule of St. Benedict in Vallombrosa, which had as its primary aims to do away with the stain of simony and to promulgate the apostolic faith. Full of virtues and merits and blessed with the companionship of Angels, he went to the Lord in his seventy-eighth year, the 12th day of July, 1073, at Passignano.