Saint of the Day – 7 August – Blessed Vincent de L’Aquila OFM (c 1435-1504) Lay Brother Friar of the Order of the Friars Minor of St Francis, gifted with the charism of prophecy, Mystic, known to levitate whilst in prayer, miracle-worker. He was sought out by nobility, future saints and ordinary people for spiritual advice and prophecy. Born in c 1435 in L’Aquilaand died on the evening of 7 August 1504 in his hut in the forest outside the convent of San Giualiano near L’Aquila, Italy of natural causes. His body is incorrupt. Patronage – L’Aquila, Italy. Also known as Vicente.
The Roman Martyrology states of him today: “In L’Aquila, in the Vestina region (today Abruzzo), Italy, Blessed Vincent, a religious of the Order of Friars Minor, famous for his humility and his prophetic spirit”
Vincent was born in L’Aquila, in Abruzzo, a City that at that time was part of the kingdom of Naples..
At the age of 14 he entered the Order of Friars Minor in the Convent of San Julián, founded by Blessed Antonio de Stroncone, near the City gates. After the profession of perpetual vows, he spent the first years of his conventual life retired in a hut in the forest of the Convent, which he only left to fulfill the offices assigned to him. He preferred humble jobs, he helped the brothers with their domestic chores and fixed their sandals because, to be more useful, he had learned the trade of shoemaker. Other times he would dedicate himself to the work of the fields and, in the rest periods, he would retire to the roughness of the rocky ground, about a hundred paces from the Convent, to devote himself to prayer.
Although educated at home with great care, Vincent wanted, out of humility, to remain a lay brother. One of the characteristics of his holiness was the spirit of mortification. So much was his austerity, that he did not even wear the sandals permitted but always remained barefoot. His brown habit, which can still be seen today, was the heaviest and coarsest of all; He did not take it off day or night. In addition, he wore sackcloth and inflicted frequent and prcticed floggings. His food was reduced to bread and water with some raw herbs, and if he was sometimes obliged, by obedience, to eat like the community, he nevertheless found a means of mortifying himself, taking only a part of his portion and adding dust or bitter substances to it.
His application to prayer was so great that Fray Marcos de Lisboa wrote about him: “Vicente remained abstracted and elevated in the air and his body was as deprived of the senses as if he were dead.” The superiors, seeing him as exemplary, to keep him away from excessive mortification, dedicated him to begging in which Vincent undoubtedly found many sacrificial occasions, given his fondness for solitude and the hidden life. His main concern, in the daily walks, was always the good of souls. Among the people who were inspired by his holiness we must remember the young girl Mattia Ciccarelli, who later became an Augustinian nun in L’Aquila, with the name of Blessed Sister Cristina Ciccarelli and today she is venerated on Altars with the title of Blessed.
Vincent was sent to the Penne Convent, then for 10 years, to that of Sulmona; from there here turned to San Julián del Aquila. The Prince of Capua, Queen Juana, second wife of Ferdinand I and sister of Ferdinand the Catholic, King of Spain, became acquainted with him for advice. He predicted the royal crown to the Duke of Calabria, the eldest son of Ferdinand I of Aragon.
An illness which had afflicted Vincent for a long time was getting worse and worse, until it prevented him from leaving his poor cell. He endured everything with great resignation and with the serenity of the Saints. On the afternoon of 7 August 1504, he expired serenely in the Lord, lovingly assisted by his confreres. Blessed Cristina Ciccarelli, from her window, saw the Convent of San Julián illuminate with great splendour and the soul of her spiritual director fly to heaven accompanied by a crowd of Angels.
In life, Vincent performed several miracles. In L´Aquila he returned speech to a mute. In another City, he cured a child who, due to his misshapen legs, could not walk and in Sant’Angelo three people owed him the cure of a similar disease. But the most admirable prodigy attributed to the power of his prayers was the resurrection of the Bishop of Sulmona, Bartolomé della Scala, of the Order of Preachers. This latter miracle had a great impact in Abruzzo and visits flowed to the Convent of San Nicolás de Sulmona, the residence of the miracle-worker at that time. They brought him sick to pray for them and they were cured.
He was 69 years old. He was buried in the Church of San Julián next to the Convent. His incorrupt body is preserved in in a walnut and glass chest.. Since then it began to shine with miracles attested by donations and votive inscriptions. After more than a century, in 1634, the preservation of the body was still evident. A new inscription was added: “In this tomb rests the body of Blessed Vincent de L’Aquila, who passed away on 7 August 1504.” Pope Pius VI approved his cult by Beatification on 19 September 1787.
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