Saint of the Day – 23 March – St Joseph Oriol (1650-1702) Priest, Confessor, prophet, healer, apostle of penance, prayer and the sick and miracle-worker. Known as the Thaumaturgus of Barcelona. Born on 23 November 1650 in Barcelona, Spain and died on 23 March 1702 in his hometown of natural causes. Patronage – Barcelona.
St Joseph was born into a poor family but managed to study at the University of Barcelona where he was awarded a doctorate of theology on 1 August 1674. He was ordained on 30 May 1676.
He went on a pilgrimage to Rome, Italy in 1686, when Pope Innocent XI granted him a benefice at Santa Maria del Pino (Our Lady of the Pines), Barcelona, Spain, a parish he served for the rest of his life.
He went to Rome to offer himself for the foreign missions, seeking to evangelise the infidels and become a martyr. On the way to Rome, Joseph fell ill at Marseilles, France and had a vision that gave him a new mission – to revitalise the faith in his own country.
He returned home and worked with the youngest of children and roughest of soldiers and prayed without ceasing for the living and the dead. He wore a hair-shirt, lived for 26 years, half his life, solely on bread and water. He became a famed confessor, prophet, healer and miracle worker. The dying, the blind, the deaf and dumb, the lame and the paralytic, were said to be instantly cured by him.
Joseph was Beatified by Pope Pius VII on 5 September 1808 and Pope Pius X later Canonised him on 20 May 1909.
He is buried in the Chapel of the Virgin Mary of Montserrat in Church of the Parish which he served all his life, between 1687 and 1702, Our Lady of the Pines in Barcelona, although a Basilica has also been built in his honour.
The Canonisation Miracle:
On 6 April 1806, priest José Mestres fell off a walkway on the outside of the church’s apse. He rose unscathed from the experience and attributed the event to St Joseph Oriol, whose remains are interred inside the church.
Although St Joseph was renowned for his healing miracles in 17th century Barcelona. He cured the deaf, blind, mute and otherwise disabled people who came to him. But despite his accomplishments in life, sainthood can only be bestowed upon someone after their death. As a result of this posthumous miracle, Oriol was canonised by the pope in September of the same year. A small plaque was installed on the corner of the church to commemorate Padre Mestres’ blessed fall.
This tiny landmark, located on the side of the Church of Santa Maria del Pi in the middle of Barcelona’s dense Gothic Quarter, marks the memory of this miracle of Fr José.
While St Joseph Oriol is little known outside of Spain, his Feast day today is celebrated with a wonderful festival in Barcelona every year and flowers are placed at the numerous statues of St Joseph throughout Barcelona.