Saint of the Day – 23 June – Blessed Pietro Giacomo of Persaro OSA (c 1445 -1496) Priest of the Order of the Hermits of St Augustine, Professor in Sacred Theology, Novice Master, Born in c 1445 in Pesaro, Italy and died on 23 June 1496 the Hermitage of Valmanente in the Marche, Italy. Also known as – Peter James.
Pietro was born in Pesaro most likely, around the year 1445. Little is known about his family, which some historians call Gaspari. Ar a very young age, he asked and obtained, entrance to the Convent of the Augustinians in Pesaro, who instilled in him the compelling charm which inspired devotion in others, which characterised the Augustinians – with study as a way to wisdom, virtue and apostolic ministry.
At the end of his Novitiate, the young man made his profession and was sent to complete his studies necessary for the Priestly ministry and an academic career according to the rigid and demanding program prescribed for the Augustinian Order.
After his Priestly Ordination, he entered the Convent life with the commitment to continue his studies and to guide the young students of the Order.
In 1472 he was Master of the Novices in Perugia.
In 1473 he was sent to teach in the Augustinian College in Florence.
In 1482 we find him, already with the title of Professor in Sacred Theology in Rimini with the task of Master of the Novices..
He participated in two General Chapters: in 1482 in Perugia and in 1486 in Siena.
He died in his early fifties. His life, therefore, ended not due to the wear and tear of the years but, probably, of the hardships of his mortication and penances. At the end of his life, always in the esteem of his Superiors and confreres, he renounced any office, even a prestigious one, in order to devote himself to the ascetic life and contemplation in the Hermitage of Valmanente, made famous by the holiness of St Nicholas of Tolentino, who in that place, had its famous vision of Purgatory.
Other records which historians have sometimes reported regarding our saint – such as his appointment as General Commissioner for a dispute between the Convents of Pergola and Corinaldo, his election as Prior Provincial of the Picena Province and the office of Prior in the famous Convent and College of St James the Greater in Bologna – should be better verified, also because some may refer to a another Pietro Giacomo da Pesaro, a contemporary of his.
However, we do know for sure, that the Blessed Pietro Giacomo emerged with some unmistakable characteristics – his holiness of life, love for study, commitment to evangelisation and the spiritual and cultural formation of young Augustinians, the search for solitude, asceticism, prayer and penance. ,
He died in 1496 in Valmanente, where his relics are now venerated in the Augustinian Church. Pope Pius IX, of blessed memory, approved his cult in 1848.