Saint of the Day – 3 August – Blessed Augustine Gazotich O.P. (1262-1323) born in 1262 at Trau, Dalmatia and died on 3 August 1323 at Lucera, Foggia, Italy of natural causes. Also known as Augustin Kazotic. Blessed Augustine was a Dalmatian-Croatian Prelate and professed member from the Order of Preachers who served as the Bishop of Lucera from 1322 until his death. Gazotich was a humanist and orator who had served first as the Bishop of Zagreb from 1303 until 1322. He studied in Paris before returning to his homeland where he began working in the missions and preaching in modern Bosnia. He was one of the first humanist figures to appear in southern Croatia, a great Apostle of Charity. He was also noted for being the guide for Dante Aligheri as the poet travelled through Croatia. His reputation for personal holiness remained noted long after his death; this resulted in Pope Innocent XII confirming the late bishop’s beatification in 1700.
Born to a wealthy family at Trau, Dalmatia, about 1262, Augustine joined the Dominican Order at eighteen and was sent to Hungary. There his fine spiritual qualities brought him to the attention of the legate Cardinal Niccolo Boccasino, a fellow Dominican. Upon the latter’s elevation to the Papacy as Benedict XI in 1303, Augustine was made Bishop of Zagreb.
The new Bishop reformed the clergy, completed building the cathedral and diligently brought about the spiritual renewal of the diocese and its people–while fending off the attacks of the hostile King of Dalmatia. He was particularly attentive to the needs of the poor and needy peoples, donating most of his own income to them.
In time, Augustine was transferred to the See of Lucera in Sicily, where he continued his work of spiritual renewal, aided by his gift of healing. The Bishop also defended his flock from attacks against the Faith. He cared for the poor and needy and fostered devotion to Sts Dominic, Thomas Aquinas, and Peter Martyr. He died in 1323 in the odour of sa nctity. In 1702, Pope Clement XI confirmed his cultus. The cause for his canonisation was re-launched in 2013 in Lucera. The current Postulator for this cause – since the cause still proceeds – is the Dominican priest Gianni Festa.