Saint of the Day – 16 February – Blessed Nicola Paglia OP (1197-1256) Priest of the Order of Preachers – Dominicans – born in 1197 in Giovanazzo, Bari, Italy and died aged 58 on 16 February 1256 at Perugia, Italy. From his hometown Giovinazzo went to Bologna to study. Here he was drawn to the Order by the vibrant preaching of St Dominic and became his most faithful companion in apostolic wanderings. Twice he was voted as the Provincial of the Roman province and founded the convents of Perugia and Trani. A cultured and far-sighted man, he promoted the study of Sacred Scripture and the compilation of biblical Concordances. He died in Perugia where he is buried in the church of St Dominic.
Nicola was born in Giovinazzo, in the province of Bari in 1197 of noble parents. His parents, raised him with great care. When he was still a child, an angel appeared to him who ordered him to abstain forever from the flesh because one day he would enter an Order where abstinence was perpetual law. As he was the son of Judge Lupone, Nicola was sent to study in Bologna. Here in 1218 met St Dominic. It was then that the young man decided to enter the Order of the great preacher.
He was received into the Dominican Order and was donned with the habit by the hands of Father St Dominic himself, who later made him his faithful companion in his apostolic journeys. He preached in many cities of Italy with immense results and his ardent words were often confirmed by great miracles.
He was the third Provincial of the Roman Province, which then extended from Tuscany to Sicily, which he exercised with strength and gentleness for two terms. One day, exhorting his religious to mutual charity, he confided to them that a recently died religious had appeared to him for forgiveness, who had been the cause of a serious dispute. Having urged him to ask for forgiveness from God and not himself, the culprit replied that the Lord demanded this satisfaction from him: “See Father Nicola, how serious and dangerous it is to offend your neighbour and how important it is to appease him after having him offended.”
Pope Gregory IX commissioned him to visit monasteries and to preach the Crusade against the Saracens.
After long years of apostolic labours he retired to the convent of Perugia. Here he had a vision. Father Raone Romano, a dear friend of his most fruitful days of religious life, appeared and announced to him, in a message from the Madonna, his near death, which occurred in 1256.
Pope Leo XII confirmed his cultus and named him Blessed on 26 March 1828.