Saint of the Day – 27 July – Blessed Nevolone of Faenza OFM (Died 1280) Penitent, Pilgrim, Widower, Lay Friar of the Order of Friars Minor, then a Camaldolese Hermit, Apostle of the poor and sick, worked as a Cobbler / Shoemaker.. Born in the 13th Century Faenza, Italy and died on 27 July 1280 in Faenza, Italy of natural causes. Patronage – Faenza, cobblers, shoemakers, shoe repairers (chosen by the cobblers of Rimini, Italy in 1331). Also known as – Nevolo of Tavensia, Nevolone, Novellone, Nevolonius. Beatified on 4 June 1817 by Pope Pius VII.
In the great family of Saints the shoemaker stands next to the king’s son and the penitent who has atoned for the errors of his earlier life, may associate with the innocent man who has never lost the grace of God.
Born of devout parents at Faenza, Italy, Nevellon learned the trade of a shoemaker but his bad conduct caused great grief to them, especially to his good mother. He married when he was quite young and it was hoped, that now at least, he would change his ways but he continued in the same bad habits, inflicting still greater pain on his family. His mother, however, prayed and sighed without ceasing that the good Lord, Who consoled the widow of Naim by raising her son to life, would also raise her son from a spiritual death to a new life.
The prayers and tears of the mother did not remain unanswered. Almighty God caused Nevellon to become seriously ill. The nearness of death opened his eyes; he reflected on his past years, grace touched his heart and with bitter tears of true contrition, he vowed that if he recovered, he would lead a penitential life. He also resolved to make a pilgrimage to the tombs of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul at Rome and to the tomb of St James at Compostela.
A few days later Nevellon recovered his health as if by a miracle . He was then only twenty four years old but he remained faithful to his promise all the rest of the days of his life, even up to an advanced age.
From that time on, prayer and work were his daily occupation. He became a Franciscan tertiary and converted his wife to an active faith. His charity to the poor nearly ruined his business.Mindful of the words, “Alms purge away sins” (Tob. 12,9), Blessed Nevellon retained only so much of his wages, as was necessary for he and his wife’s support and the remainder he divided among the poor and the sick. In the beginning, his wife, who was somewhat anxious over their temporalities, was much vexed at this liberality but when she saw the great blessings that attended her husband’s charity, she gave full consent.
Nevellon severely chastised his body for the sins of his past life and amid great hardships, undertook the pilgrimages he had promised, including several trips to Compostela. When his wife died, Nevelone became a Franciscan Lay Brother. But seeking greater unity with God in prayer and mortification he became a Camaldolese Hermit at the Monastery of San Maglorio in Faenza, Italy where his reputation for piety and wisdom continued to grow, leading many to emulate his spiritual ascent.
After giving the most edifying example of penance and many holy virtues for a space of fifty-six years, holy Nevellon died peacefully in the Lord in 1280. God glorified him in life and in death by miracles. His remains were interred in the Cathedral of San Pietro in Faenza. By 1282, 2 years after his death, there were so many pilgrims to his tomb that guards had to be posted to maintain order. With the approval of the Pope his native town celebrates his feast and shoemakers have chosen him for their special Patron.