Saint of the Day – 24 September – Saint Pacificus of Severino OFM (1653-1721) Priest, Franciscan Friar, Mystic, Miracle-worker, Missionary, Superior of the Friary of San Severino and joyful sufferer for Christ – born on 1 March 1653 at San Severino, Italy and died on 24 September 1721 at San Severino, Italy of natural causes aged 68.
Pacificus was born into the impoverished Divini family on 1 March 1653, in the city of San Severino, Italy. He was one of 13 children. At age three he lost his father and his mother. Along with his siblings he was brought to the house of an uncle to be raised. The children suffered greatly there, mistreated by two servants in the household.
From infancy Pacificus had received a good religious formation from his mother, which helped him to not fall into despair and to follow the religious vocation that early attracted him. At age 17 he entered the Franciscans of Forano, where he studied and received Holy Orders on 4 June 1678, subsequently becoming Professor of Philosophy at the Monastery.
The words of Our Lord, “the harvest is great but the workers are few,” refused to leave his mind and he concluded that the world did not need doctors but apostles. He spoke about this concern to his Provincial, who directed him in 1683 to take up missionary work. For five or six years he actively preached to the people of the surrounding regions. His ideal was to convert the infidel and suffer martyrdom. But God had reserved to this hunter of souls another apostolate, that of suffering.
His feet became swollen and covered with wounds, which prevented him from walking, a condition he suffered until his death. For a while, he held the post of guardian in the Monastery and dedicated many hours to hearing confessions. However, he could no longer do so after he became deaf and could not communicate with those around him. This intensified his union with God.
The loss of this sense was not enough. Pacificus also became blind. In the last years of his life he could no longer celebrate Mass or go to the choir. And, since the worse enemies of man are his neighbours, St Pacific found some persons in his Monastery – like the sacristan and nurse – who mistreated him with words and deeds.
The Saint bore all this with an inextinguishable and firm patience. He became a model for all those who carry this cross. But “he sought for comfort and relief in God alone and was by him favoured with marvellous supernatural graces and with the gift of working miracles.” He was said to have “borne his ills with angelic patience, worked several miracles and was favoured by God with ecstasies.” He died on 24 September 1721. (Scamoni, The True Face of the Saints)
He was Beatified on 4 August 1786 by Pope Pius VI and Canonised on 26 May 1839 by Pope Gregory XVI.