Saint of the Day – 23 December – Blessed Nicolás Factor-Estaña OFM (1520-1583) commonly known as Nicolas Factor – Franciscan Priest, Painter, Preacher, Ascestic, Spiritual Director – born in 1520 in Valencia, Spain and died in 1583 of natural causes. His body is incorrupt.
Nicolás Factor was born in Valencia in Spain on 29 June 1520 as one of five children to a poor tailor.
In his childhood he fasted three times a week and donated all of his untouched food to the poor and also tended to the ill, including lepers. His Moorish maid was so affected by this love that she learnt about the faith and converted to Roman Catholicism.
His father wanted him to follow his career as a tailor but Nicolas wanted to become a priest and a religious.
He entered the Order of Friars Minor on 30 November 1537 and was sometime later ordained as a priest, where he developed his talents as a painter via a range of devotional images.
Although Nicolas wanted be sent to missionary lands, he was instead sent to preach across his own region and became much sought-after, his homilies teaching and converting many. He was known for undergoing rather severe self-mortifications before he gave each sermon.
He also served as the spiritual director of the Santa Clara convent in Madrid at the request of the Princess of Portugal, Joan of Habsburg. In April 1582 he relocated to the Santa Caterina convent in Onda and that November moved to another convent in Barcelona.
Blessed Nicolas died after a period of illness on 23 December 1583 after having just returned to Valencia. In 1586 his remains were exhumed for King Philip II – who wished to view them and his body was found to be incorrupt.
Pope Pius VI Beatified Blessed Nicolas on 27 August 1786. The Beatification process saw three friends of Blessed Nicolas summoned to provide witness testimonies and the tribunal called upon Saint Pascal Baylon OFM, Saint Louis Betrand OP and Saint Juan de Ribera (whom Factor served as his Archbishop).