Saint of the Day – 11 December – Blessed Jerome Ranuzzi OSM (c 1410-c 1468) “The Angel of Good Counsel,” “The Blessed Bachelor,” Priest and Friar of the Order of the Servants of Mary, the Servites, Theologian, Adviser both spiritual and secular, renowned for his learning and scholarship, Penitent and Hermit with a great love of solitude and silence. Born as Girolamo Ranuzzi in c 1410 at Sant’Angelo, Vado, Pesaro-Urbino, Italy and died in c 1468 of natural causes. Also known as – Jerome Ranucci, Girolamo and “The Angel of Good Counsel,” “The Blessed Bachelor.” Additional Memorials, 10 and 12 December on local calendars. Patronage – Sant’Angelo, Vado. His body is incorrupt and is still available for veneration in St Mary of the Servites.
The Roman Martyrology states: “In Sant’Angelo in Vado always in the Marches, Blessed Girolamo, Priest of the Order of the Servants of Mary, who in solitude and silence reached the wisdom of holiness.”
“Becoming holy is the vocation of every man and woman who comes into this world. The Servants of Mary lived this noble toil within the Church of Christ. The results of this journey are as colourful as ever, precisely because the Holy Spirit renews everything without ever repeating Himself. The saints are alike but none are the same.” (The journey of the Servants of Mary, Servitium editrice, 2001).
Jerome, who was born around 1410 in Sant’Angelo in Vado, of the wealthy Ranuzzi family (or Ranucci, according to the spelling of contemporary documents). The family
became regarded as part of nobles. In 1404, his father Antonio, became the municipal guardian for the Parish of St Eusebius, two kilometers away from his home.
Jerome, while still a teenager, entered the Convent of the Servants of Mary of St Angelo in Vado, from where he went to Bologna to study. There he applied himself to philosophy and theology, obtaining the degree of bachelor and after being Ordained a Priest, returned to his hometown Convent.
The first documented report of Jerome’s presence in St Angelo among the Servants of Mary, dates to 1449. Jerome was at this time, the Vicar of the Provincial Superior Michael Ambrosi, who called a General Chapter at his Convent in St Angelo. Another document certifying his presence in the said Convent is his signing of a contract dated 20 November 1454.
Jerome was undoubtedly a man of doctrine, in fact, several of his famous contemporaries mention him in their historical works as the “bachelor,” from the title obtained for his studies in the ecclesiastical universities of the time.
The famous Duke Federick of Montefeltro of Urbino, used his advice for the most important affairs and then always venerated his memory, when, as shown by subsequent documents of 1471 and 1478, the Duke Federick visited Jerome’s Convent to pay homage at the Tomb of the Blessed.
His contemporaries and fellow Friars, narrated his fame as an ascetic, a rigorous penitent, a persuasive adviser, who was very much alive in St Angelo in Vado. A local tradition indicates a cave where our Blessed Jerome lived his periods of solitude located along the road that leads to Montata, right where the Shrine of the Virgin called “Madonnina di Pagnignò” stands.
In 1462 the “Blessed Bachelor” began the foundation of the female Monastery of St Mary of Gracenear, nearby the male Monastery.
The date of his death is around 1468 and from then on, a crowd of people went to his Tomb to recommend themselves to his intercession. Shortly after his death, when the fame of miracles grew, Friar Jerome was acclaimed a saint by the voice of the people. His incorrupt body is preserved under the main Altar of the Church of St Mary of the Servites, where it is still venerated by the faithful today.
After a long process, his cult was confirmed on 1 April 1775 by Pope Pius VI with the title of Blesse.. The Roman Martyrology celebrates his feast today, the 11th December.