Saint of the Day – 11 October – Blessed James Grissinger OP (c 1407-1491) “The Innocent,” Lay Brother of the Order of Preachers, Artist of Religous imagery, especially stained glass, former Soldier. Born in 1407 at Ulm, Swabia (modern Germany) and died on 11 October 1491, aged 84, in Bologna, Italy of natural causes. Also known as – James Griesinger, James of Ulm.
The Roman Martyrology reads: “In Bologna, blessed Giacomo da Ulm Grissinger, a religious of the Order of Preachers, who, although unlearned, he was a skilled decorator of stained glass windows and for fifty years, offered everyone an example of dedication to work and prayer.”
James, born in Ulm in 1407, had since childhood in his family, the Grissingers, the most precious examples of Christian piety. After a period as a Soldier, being unhappy in that life, at 25 years of age, with the blessing of his parents, from the banks of the Danube, he set out as a pilgrim to Rome to venerate the tombs of the Holy Apostles.
After various wanderings, he passed through Bologna, where he stopped for some time. His favourite destination was the tomb of St Domenic and here, during his devoted visits, he felt a strong inspiration to embrace the Order.
Although he was not completely uneducated, he asked and obtained, in 1441, to be admitted among the lay brothers. Candid and sensitive soul, he understood and knew how to fully implement his holy vocation.
His prayer touched ecstasy and he was often seen surrounded by light But although his heart was foreign to the earth, his hands were always ready to work and to render any humble service with that amiable smile that opens hearts. He was skilled in the art of painting glass, so much so that excellent works remain in remembrance of him. for the benefit of souls.
It is said that one day, while he supervised the firing of some painted glass, the Prior commanded him to go in search of alms. The Blessed one, without opening his mouth, went to fulfill the task in holy obedience. On his return, instead of finding the glass incinerated, as was to be expected, he found them cooked to the right point, by the Divine intercession at which he marvelled in thanksgiving.
He always kept his Baptismal innocence and, having expired his blessed soul, on 11 October 1491, his candour seemed to be communicated also to his body, which shone with celestial light.
On 3 August 1825, Pope Leo XII confirmed his cult. His relics, are preserved in St Domeni’s Basilica in Bologna,