Saint of the Day – 9 November – Blessed Gratia of Cattaro OSA (1438-1508) Lay Brother of the Hermits of St Augustine, sailor, Born 27 October 1438 at Mul, Cattaro, Dalmatia (modern Kotor, Montenegro) and died on 9 November 1508 in Murano, Italy of natural causes. Gratia was known for his humility, spirit of penance, love of the Eucharist and for his zealous hard labour. Also known as – Gratia of Kotor, Gracija, Grazia. Gratia was Beatified in 6 June 1889 by Pope Leo XIII (cultus confirmed).
Gratia was born in 1438 in the small town of Mula on the coast of Dalmatia near Cattaro (Kotor), not far from present-day Albania. He followed in the footsteps of his father ,who was a sailor and visited many port cities, being particularly drawn by the beauty of Venice. One day, after hearing a sermon of Simon of Camerino in the Augustinian Church of Saint Stephen in that City, he entered the Order as a brother and took the name Gratia, out of gratitude to God for the many gifts he had received. Simon of Camerino had founded a community near Padua where the Friars lived in absolute poverty while ministering at a Shrine dedicated to our Lady. Here Gratia lived a life of prayer and penance and devoted his energies toward the construction of the monastery and the cultivation of its garden.
Later, when Simon established the Friary of Saint Christopher in Venice, Gratia was transferred there, where he was greatly loved by the people and sought after by them for his prayer and counsel. Here he died on 8 November 1508. Within the Church of Saint Christopher, a marble monument was erected to his memory by a Senator of the City, while Gratia’s remains were eventually taken back to Mula. Pope Leo XIII confirmed his cult in 1889.
Gratia might have been considered a belated vocation in his day, earning a living by the hard labour of an itinerant sailor. Following his entrance into religious life, he continued to use his natural gifts in the service of God and his community and by his simple but genuine demeanour, drew others to also recognise, the grace of God at work in their lives.