Quote/s of the Day – 19 October – St Peter of Alcantar

Quote/s of the Day – 19 October – St Peter of Alcantara OFM (1499-1562) Confessor

Truly, matters in the world,
are in a bad state
but if you and I begin, in earnest,
to reform ourselves,
a really good beginning
will have been made.

Our Lord, in the Blessed Sacrament,
has His Hands full of graces
and He is ready to bestow them
on anyone, who asks for them

No tongue is able to declare
the greatness of the love
which Jesus bears to every soul
and, therefore, this Spouse,
when He would leave this earth,
in order that His absence
might not cause us to forget Him,
left us, as a memorial,
this Blessed Sacrament,
in which He Himself remained;
for He would not,
that there should be any other pledge
to keep alive, our remembrance of Him,
than He Himself!”


St Peter of Alcantara (1499-1562)


Saint of the Day – 19 October – St Peter of Alcantara OFM (1499-1562) Confessor

Saint of the Day – 19 October – St Peter of Alcantara OFM (1499-1562) Confessor, Franciscan Friar and Priest, Mystic, Ecstatic, Writer, Preacher, Reformer, Hermit, Apostle of Prayer, Eucharistic Adoration, the Passion and Charity, Miracle-worker.
Patronages – Nocturnal Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Brazil (named by Pope Pius IX in 1862), Estremadura Spain, night watchmen.

St Peter of Alcantara, Confessor
By Father Francis Xavier Weninger (1860-1946)

St Peter was born in the year 1499, at Alcantara, in Spain. He became celebrated for his great piety and the austerity of his life and in order to distinguish him from other Saints of the same name, received the surname, “of Alcantara.”

Besides other signs of future holiness, Peter, when only seven years of age, evinced so great a love for prayer that he sometimes forgot to eat and drink. During the time of his studies, he kept his innocence unspotted in the midst of many dangers, by making prayer, the holy Sacraments and penances, its guardians.
When hardly sixteen years old, he secretly left his father’s house and entered the Franciscan Order, in which he soon became a model of all virtues. After having finished his novitiate, he was charged with different functions, all of which he discharged most successfully. The office of preacher was the most agreeable to him. An incredible number of hardened sinners were converted by his sermons, in which he treated of penance and a reform of life.

The fame of his virtues and holiness gave additional weight to every word he uttered. Especially admirable, were the untiring zeal with which he practised all manner of bodily austerities and his continual communion with God in prayer. His whole life was one of extraordinary and almost unexampled mortification. He guarded his eyes so closely that he not only never looked on a woman’s face but knew his brethren only by their voices and, after a long sojourn in the Monastery, could not tell whether the choir and the dormitory were vaulted or covered with boards.

The cell he chose for his dwelling was so narrow that it was more like a tomb than the abode of a living human being and so low that he could not stand upright in it. He kept an almost continual fast and hardly partook, every third day, of some undressed herbs, bread and water. It even happened that during eight days he took no food whatever. He scourged himself twice daily with iron chains. He wore, day and night, a penitential instrument made of tin, pierced like a grater. For forty years, he allowed himself only one hour and a half of sleep at night and this, not lying down but kneeling, or standing with his head leaning against a board. The remainder of the night he occupied in prayer and meditation. As long as he lived in the order, he went barefoot and bareheaded, even in the coldest season. His clothing consisted of his habit and a short cloak, made of rough sack-cloth. He seemed to have made a comtract with his body, never in this world, to allow it any peace or comfort.

His union with God in prayer had reached so high a degree that he was often seen in ecstacy, or raised high in the air and surrounded by a heavenly brightness. The power of his holy prayers was experienced, not only by many hardened sinners but also by many sick, for whom he obtained health and strength. The inhabitants of the City of Albuquerque, ascribed to him their deliverance from the pestilence, for, as soon as Peter had called upon the Divine Mercy, the pestilence, which had most fearfully ravaged the City, disappeared.

The love of God, which filled the heart of the Saint, manifested itself in his intercourse and conversation with men, whom he endeavoured to inflame with the same love. This appeared in all his actions but especially, at the time of Holy Mass, when he stood like a Seraph before the Altar, his face burning and tears streaming from his eyes. When meditating on the Passion and Death of our Saviour, he was frequently so deeply touched, in his inmost heart that for hours, he was like one dead. His devotion to God would sometimes burn his heart so intensely, that to moderate his emotion, he would go into the fields to breathe more freely.

Having reached his fortieth year, he was chosen Provincial but endeavoured to refuse the dignity and when compelled by obedience to accept it, he regarded it as an opportunity to do good to those under his charge. God admonished him to restore the primitive observance in the Order, according to the Rule and spirit of St Francis. Although he could not but foresee, the many and great difficulties which he would encounter in this undertaking, still, trusting in God, he went courageously to work after having obtained the sanction of the Pope.

The Almighty visibly aided His faithful servant, for, in six years, the Saint had founded nine Monasteries, in which the mortification and the perfect poverty, which St Francis especially cherished, were observed in all the rigour of the first Rule.
In the course of time, this renewed Order was disseminated throughout all Spain, to the great joy of the Saint. This and other labours which he performed, to the honoir and glory of God, made him greatly esteemed by everyone.

St Teresa, who lived at that period, asked his advice in her cares and doubts, whenever she had occasion and called him a Saint while he was yet upon earth. St Francis Borgia entertained great friendship for him and the praise of his great virtues resounded throughout all Spain. The Emperor Charles V. desired to make him his Confessor but the humble servant of the Almighty knew how to say so much of his incapacity for this office, that the Emperor abandoned the idea, to the Saint’s great joy. This became a new incentive for him to devote himself entirely to the service of God and the welfare of those in his care.

St Teresa of Jesus with St Peter of Alcantara

He had reached his 63rd year, more by a miracle than in a natural way, when he was visited by Providence with a severe illness, which soon left no hope of his recovery, as his body was entirely wasted away by the severity of his life, his painful journeys and his uninterrupted labours. He himself, was informed from on high, of his approaching end and he received the last Sacraments, with so deep a devotion that the eyes of all present were filled with tears.
After this he fell into a rapture, in which the Divine Mother and St John the Evangelist, appeared to him and assured him of his salvation. Hence, regaining consciousness, he cheerfully recited the words of the Psalmist: “I have rejoiced in those things which have been said to me; We shall go into the house of the Lord.” Having said this, he calmly gave his soul into the keeping of his Creator, in the year of Our Lord 1562.

St Teresa, who has written much in his praise, says among other things: “He died as he had lived, a Saint and I have, after his death, received many graces from God, through his intercession. I have often seen him in great glory and when I saw him the first time, he said to me: ‘O happy penance, which has obtained so great a glory for me!‘” The Roman Breviary testifies that, St Teresa, although, at the time of his death, far from him, saw his soul gloriously ascend into Heaven.

The biographers of St Peter, relate many and great miracles which he wrought, while he was still living. In the Breviary, we read, among other things, the following. “He crossed rapid rivers with dry feet. In times of great poverty, he fed his brethren with food which he received from Heaven. The staff which he placed in the ground, immediately became a budding fig-tree. Once, in the night-time, when he sought shelter from a snow-storm in a roofless house, the snow remained hanging in the air, above it and thus, formed a roof to protect him from being buried in the snow.” St Peter of Alcantara, pray for Holy Mother Church and for all her faithful Amen, amen!


Saint of the Day – 17 May – St Paschal Baylon OFM (1540-1592) Servant of the Blessed Sacrament

Saint of the Day – 17 May – St Paschal Baylon OFM (16 May 1540 – 17 May 1592) Spanish Lay Brother “Seraph of the Eucharist,” “Saint of the Blessed Sacrament,” “Servant of the Blessed Sacrament,” Franciscan Lay Brother, Mystic…….. Also known as – Pasquale, PascaL. Paschal was Beatified on 29 October 1618 by Pope Paul V and Canonised on 16 October 1690 by Pope Alexander VIII. Pope Leo XIII[7] proclaimed the saint as the “Seraph of the Eucharist” as well as the Patron of Eucharistic congresses and affiliated associations.

The Roman Martyrology states: “At Villa Real near Valencia in Spain, Saint Pasquale Baylon, a religious of the Order of Friars Minor, who, always showing himself caring and kind to everyone, constantly venerated the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist with fervent love.”

Childhood and early years:
Let’s start by saying that the Spanish name Pasquale, is of Christian origin and is also widely used in the feminine – Pasqualina. It was given to children born on Easter Sunday but its distant origins are Jewish (Pesach = passage) meaning the passage of the Jewish people through the Red Sea and the passage of the Angel of the Lord, who saved, the Jewish firstborns, by marking their houses with the blood of the lamb, to distinguish them from the Egyptians, who were destined for death, in the last plague of Egypt.
However, this is not the case with Pasquale Baylon, who was born on 16 May 1540, the day of Pentecost (which is also called in Spanish, “Pascua de Pentecostés.” From his childhood, he showed a marked devotion to the Holy Eucharist, which would later become the centre of his entire religious life.
He was a shepherd first of the family’s flock, then in the service of other masters. The solitude of the fields favoured meditation, his desire for continuous prayer. He also began to mortify his young body with long fasts and painful flagellations.

Franciscan vocation:
At the age of 18 he asked to join the Convent of Santa Maria di Loreto, of the Reformed Franciscans called Alcantarini by St Peter of Alcantara, reformer of the Order. But he was not accepted, perhaps due to his young age.
In order to remain in the vicinity of the Convent, he entered the service, again as a shepherd, of the very wealthy landowner, Martín García. Admired by this young employee, he proposed to adopt Paschal, sin order to make him his heir. However, Paschal refused this offer as he was more determined than ever to enter among the Friars of St. Francis.
In 1560, he was admitted to the Convent of St Maria di Loreto, where he made his religious profession on 2 February 1564. He never wanted to ascend to the Priesthood, despite the favourable opinion of his superiors because he did not feel worthy.

Friar, Porter, Cook, gifted with holy wisdom:
For years Paschal fulfilled the various services necessary to the convent, especially as a Porter, a task that he always carried out with great goodness. Although so young, he acquired a reputation for holiness, for his Christian virtues but also for the miraculous deeds attributed to him.
He was truly “Pentecostal,” that is, favoured by the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit, including that of wisdom: he could read and write but he was not very cultured. Still, he was constantly asked for advice by many illustrious persons

On mission among the Calvinists:
In 1576, even the Provincial Father of the Alcantarins of Spain, having to communicate urgently with the Father General residing in Paris, thought of sending Brother Paschal with the letter, knowing full well the serious difficulties of the journey, for the crossing of some French Provinces, which at that time were dominated by Calvinists.
In fact, the Friar was made the object of continuous derision, insults, beatings. In Orléans, he too was in danger of death by stoning! There, Paschal had disputed with the Calvinist in regard to the Holy Eucharist debunking their false arguments.

“São Pascoal Bailão adora a Eucaristia” – Convento de São Pedro de Alcântara, Arenas de San Pedro (Espanha) – Foto: Francisco Lecaros

Seraph of the Eucharist:
On returning from his delicate and dangerous mission, Paschal composed a small book of definitions and sentences on the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and, on the divine power transmitted to the Roman Pontiff. As evidence of this great devotion, for which he was nicknamed “Seraph of the Eucharist,” we have received his personal thoughts and prayers, which he added to the collections of writings on Eucharistic themes.

In order to acquire greater perfection, Paschal underwent continuous and heavy mortifications and increasingly numerous penances, to the point that his health was now compromised. On 17 May 1592, the day after his fifty-second birthday, Paschale died at the Convent of the Rosary in Villarreal, near Valencia. As had happened on the day of his birth, it was Pentecost!
The funeral saw the participation of a crowd of faithful, who wanted to pay homage of heartfelt veneration to the body of the humble lay Franciscan Brother, whose holiness, fand miracles were well-known throughout the Catholic world.

Veneration and iconography:
He was particularly revered in Naples, subject to Spanish domination. The cult was concentrated in two large and famous Franciscan Convents, once belonging to the Alcantarini but still existing – St Paschal a Chiaia and St Paschal Granatello. His name was given to generations of children, especially in Southern Italy.
He was Beatified 26 years after his death, on 29 October 1618, by Pope Paul V and proclaimed a Saint on 16 October 1690 by Pope Alexander VIII. His remains, which were venerated with great devotion in Villarreal, were desecrated and dispersed during the Spanish Civil War; some were later recovered and returned to the City in 1952.
Over the centuries, his passionate devotion to the Eucharist have inspired the many artists who have depicted him. Paschal usually appears in the act of adoring the Blessed Sacrament in a Monstrance.

Official and traditional Patronages:
Pope Leo XIII, on 28 November 1897, proclaimed him Patron of Eucharistic Congresses and Associations. Popularly he is also considered Patron of cooks and pastry chefs, on the basis of his humble services carried out in the Convent – according to tradition, Paschal is the creator of the famous desert called Zabaglione, whose name evidently derives from him. Probably due to a resemblance in the sound of Paschal’s Surname (“St Paschal Baylonne”). Paschal is finally invoked by single women looking for a husband and by women in general.

St Paschal also here:

Sepulchre in Villarrea

Saint of the Day – 6 April – Saint Juliana of Cornillon (c 1192-1258) “Apostle of the Blessed Sacrament.”

Saint of the Day – 6 April – Saint Juliana of Cornillon (c 1192-1258) Nun, Mystic “Apostle of the Blessed Sacrament.” Born in c 1192 or 1103 at Retinnes, Flanders, Belgium and died on 5 April 1258 of natural causes. Patronage – Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. St Juliana is little known but the Church is deeply indebted to her, not only because of the holiness of her life but also because, with her great fervour, she contributed to the institution of one of the most important solemn Liturgies of the year, namely the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. She is also known as Juliana of Mount Cornillon, Julliana, Juliana of Liège.

We know several facts about her life, mainly from a Biography that was probably written by a contemporary cleric; it is a collection of various testimonies of people who were directly acquainted with the Saint.

Juliana was born near Liège, Belgium between 1191 and 1192. It is important to emphasise this place because at that time, the Diocese of Liège was, so to speak, a true “Eucharistic Upper Room.” Before Juliana, eminent theologians had illustrated the supreme value of the Sacrament of the Eucharist and, again in Liège, there were groups of women generously dedicated to Eucharistic worship and to fervent communion. Guided by exemplary Priests, they lived together, devoting themselves to prayer and to charitable works.

Orphaned at the age of five, Juliana, together with her sister Agnes, was entrusted to the care of the Augustinian nuns at the Convent and leprosarium of Mont-Cornillon. She was taught mainly by a Sister called “Sapienza” [wisdom], who was in charge of her spiritual development to the time Juliana received the religious habit and thus became an Augustinian Nun.

She became so learned that she could read the words of the Church Fathers, of St Augustine and St Bernard in particular, in Latin. In addition to a keen intelligence, Juliana showed a special propensity for contemplation from the outset. She had a profound sense of Christ’s presence, which she experienced by living the Sacrament of the Eucharist especially intensely and by pausing frequently to meditate upon Jesus’ words: “And lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20).

When Juliana was 16 she had her first vision, which recurred subsequently several times during her Eucharistic adoration. Her vision presented the moon in its full splendour, crossed diametrically by a dark stripe. The Lord made her understand the meaning of what had appeared to her. The moon symbolized the life of the Church on earth, the opaque line, on the other hand, represented the absence of a liturgical feast for whose institution Juliana was asked to plead effectively, namely, a feast in which believers would be able to adore the Eucharist so as to increase in faith, to advance in the practice of the virtues and to make reparation for offences, to the Most Holy Sacrament.

The vision of St Juliana

Juliana, who in the meantime had become Prioress of the convent, kept this revelation that had filled her heart with joy a secret for about 20 years. She then confided it to two other fervent adorers of the Eucharist, Blessed Eva, who lived as a hermit, and Isabella, who had joined her at the Monastery of Mont-Cornillon. The three women established a sort of “spiritual alliance” for the purpose of glorifying the Most Holy Sacrament. They also chose to involve a highly regarded Priest, John of Lausanne, who was a Canon of the Church of St Martin in Liège. They asked him to consult theologians and clerics on what was important to them. Their affirmative response was encouraging.

What happened to Juliana of Cornillon occurs frequently in the lives of Saints. To have confirmation that an inspiration comes from God, it is always necessary to be immersed in prayer to wait patiently, to seek friendship and exchanges with other good souls and to submit all things to the judgement of the Shepherds of the Church. It was in fact Bishop Robert Torote, Liège who, after initial hesitation, accepted the proposal of Juliana and her companions and first introduced the Solemnity of Corpus Christi in his Diocese. Later other Bishops following his example and instituted this Feast in the territories entrusted to their pastoral care.

However, to increase their faith the Lord often asks Saints to sustain trials. This also happened to Juliana who had to bear the harsh opposition of certain members of the clergy and even of the Superior on whom her Monastery depended. Of her own free will, therefore, Juliana left the Convent of Mont-Cornillon with several companions. For 10 years — from 1248 to 1258 — she stayed as a guest at various Monasteries of Cistercian sisters. She edified all with her humility, she had no words of criticism or reproach for her adversaries and continued zealously to spread Eucharistic worship.

She died at Fosses-La-Ville, Belgium, in 1258. In the cell where she lay, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed and, according to her biographer’s account, Juliana died contemplating with a last effusion of love Jesus in the Eucharist, Whom she had always loved, honoured and adored.

Jacques Pantaléon of Troyes was also won over to the good cause of the Feast of Corpus Christi during his ministry as Archdeacon in Lièges. It was he, who, having become Pope with the name of Urban IV in 1264, instituted the Solemnity of Corpus Christi on the Thursday after Pentecost as a Feast of precept for the universal Church.

In the Bull of its institution, entitled Transiturus de hoc mundo, (11 Aug. 1264), Pope Urban even referred discreetly to Juliana’s mystical experiences, corroborating their authenticity. He wrote: “Although the Eucharist is celebrated solemnly everyday, we deem it fitting, that at least once a year. it be celebrated with greater honour and a solemn commemoration.

Indeed we grasp the other things we commemorate with our spirit and our mind but this does not mean, that we obtain their real presence. On the contrary, in this sacramental commemoration of Christ, even though in a different form, Jesus Christ is present with us in His own substance. While He was about to ascend into Heaven, He said ‘And lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age’ (Matthew 28:20)”.

The Pontiff made a point of setting an example by celebrating the solemnity of Corpus Christi in Orvieto, the town where he was then residing. Indeed, he ordered that the famous Corporal with the traces of the Eucharistic miracle which had occurred in Bolsena the previous year, 1263, be kept in Orvieto Cathedral — where it still is today.

While a Priest was consecrating the bread and the wine, he was overcome by strong doubts about the Real Presence of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. A few drops of blood began miraculously to ooze from the consecrated Host, thereby confirming what our faith professes.

Urban iv asked one of the greatest theologians of history, St Thomas Aquinas — who at that time was accompanying the Pope and was in Orvieto — to compose the texts of the Liturgical Office for this great Feast. They are masterpieces, still in use in the Church today, in which theology and poetry are fused into glorious prayers. These texts pluck at the heartstrings in an expression of praise and gratitude to the Most Holy Sacrament, while the mind, penetrating the mystery with wonder, recogniSes in the Eucharist, the Living and Real Presence of Jesus, of His Sacrifice of Love, that reconciles us with the Father and gives us salvation.

Although, after the death of Urban iv the celebration of the Feast of Corpus Christi was limited to certain regions of France, Germany, Hungary and Northern Italy, it was another Pontiff, John XXII who in 1317, re-established it for the universal Church. Since then, the Feast experienced a wonderful development and is still deeply appreciated by the Catholic faithful.

In remembering St Juliana of Cornillon, let us also renew our faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. As we are taught “Jesus Christ is present in the Eucharist in a unique and incomparable way. He is present in a true, real and substantial way, with His Body and His Blood, with His Soul and His Divinity. In the Eucharist, therefore, there is present in a sacramental way, that is, under the Eucharistic Species of bread and wine, Christ whole and entire, God and Man” (n. 282). (Excerpt – Pope Benedict XVI)

St Juliana was Canonised in 1869 by Blessed Pope Pius IX.

The Saints never failed to find strength, consolation and joy in the Eucharistic encounter. Let us repeat before the Lord present in the Most Blessed Sacrament ,the words of the Eucharistic hymn “Adoro te devote”: [Devoutly I adore Thee]: Make me believe ever more in you, “Draw me deeply into faith, / Into Your hope, into Your love.”


Saint of the Day – 19 October – St Peter of Alcantara OFM (1499-1562)

Saint of the Day – 19 October – St Peter of Alcantara OFM (1499-1562) – Franciscan Friar and Priest, Mystic, Ecstatic, Writer, Preacher, Reformer, Hermit, Apostle of Prayer, Eucharistic Adoration, the Passion and Charity, Miracle-worker – born in 1499 at Alcantara, Estremadura, Spain and died on 18 October 1562 at Estremadura, Spain of natural causes.   Patronages – Nocturnal Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Brazil (named by Pope Blessed Pius IX in 1862), Estremadura Spain (named in 1962), night watchmen, watchmen.header - San_Pedro_de_Alcántara_(Museo_de_El_Greco,_Toledo)

His father, Peter Garavita, was the governor of Alcantara and his mother was of the noble family of Sanabia.   After a course of grammar and philosophy in his native town, he was sent, at the age of fourteen, to the University of Salamanca.   Returning home, he became a Franciscan in the convent of the Stricter Observance at Manxaretes in 1515.   At the age of twenty-two he was sent to found a new community of the Stricter Observance at Badajoz.   He was ordained priest in 1524 and the following year made guardian of the convent of St Mary of the Angels at Robredillo.   A few years later he began preaching with much success.   He preferred to preach to the poor and his sermons, taken largely from the Prophets and Sapiential Books, breathe the tenderest human peter of alcantara glass

Having been elected minister of St Gabriel’s province in 1538, Peter set to work at once. At the chapter of Plasencia in 1540 he drew up the Constitutions of the Stricter Observants but his severe ideas met with such opposition that he renounced the office of provincial and retired with St John of Avila into the mountains of Arabida, Portugal, where he joined Father Martin a Santa Maria in his life of eremitical solitude.   Soon, however, other friars came to join him and several little communities were established. Peter being chosen guardian and master of novices at the convent of Pallais.   In 1560 these communities were erected into the Province of Arabida.   Returning to Spain in 1553 he spent two more years in solitude and then journeyed barefoot to Rome and obtained permission of Pope Julius III to found some poor convents in Spain under the jurisdiction of the general of the Conventuals.   Convents were established at Pedrosa, Plasencia, and elsewhere; in 1556 they were made a commissariat, with Peter as superior, and in 1561, a province under the title of St Joseph.    The reform spread rapidly into other provinces of Spain and Portugal.Peter-of-Alcantara-edit

In 1562 the province of St Joseph was put under the jurisdiction of the general of the Observants and two new custodies were formed.   Besides the above-named associates of Peter may be mentioned St Francis Borgia SJ,  St  John of Avila (Doctor of the Church) and Blessed Louis of Granada O.P.     In St Teresa of Avila OCD (Doctor of the Church), Peter perceived a soul chosen of God for a great work and her success in the reform of Carmel was in great measure due to his counsel, encouragement and defence.  It was a letter from St Peter (14 April 1562) that encouraged her to found her first monastery at Avila.  St Teresa’s autobiography is the source of much of our information regarding Peter’s life, work and gifts of miracles and prophecy.   According to St Teresa of Ávila, it was a very common thing for him to take food only once in three days and that sometimes he would go a week without peter alcantara and st teresa avila

Perhaps the most remarkable of Peter’s graces were his gift of contemplation and the virtue of penance.   Hardly less remarkable was his love of God, which was at times so ardent as to cause him, as it did St Philip Neri, sensible pain and frequently rapt him into ecstasy.   The poverty he practised and enforced was as cheerful as it was real and often let the want of even the necessaries of life be felt.   In confirmation of his virtues and mission of reformation God worked numerous miracles through his intercession and by his very presence.   Besides the Constitutions of the Stricter Observants and many letters on spiritual subjects, especially to St Teresa, he composed a short treatise on prayer, which has been translated into all the languages of Europe.

Download the book here:

He was a man of remarkable austerity and poverty who travelled throughout Spain preaching the Gospel to the poor.   He wrote a Treatise on Prayer and Meditation, which was considered a masterpiece by St Teresa, St Francis de Sales (Doctor of the Church) and Louis of peter alcantara death

While in prayer and contemplation, he was often seen in ecstasies and levitation.   On his deathbed, he was offered a glass of water which he refused, saying that “Even my Lord Jesus Christ thirsted on the Cross…”   He died while on his knees in prayer on 18 October 1562 in a monastery at Arenas.

death of st peter alcantara
Death of St Peter of Alcantara

He was Beatified on 18 April 1622 by Pope Gregory XV and Canonised on 28 April 1669 by Pope Clement IX.

Statue of St Peter of Alcantara at St Peter’s Basilica


Saint of the Day – 17 May – St Paschal Baylon OFM (1540-1592) The “Seraph of the Eucharist”

Saint of the Day – 17 May – St Paschal Baylon OFM (1540-1592)  Religious Brother of the  Order of Lay Brothers Minor, Mystic, Contemplative, Apostle of the Eucharist and Mary, Apostle of the Sick and the poor, known as the “Seraph of the Eucharist,” “Saint of the Blessed Sacrament,” “Servant of the Blessed Sacrament.”   St Paschal was born on 24 May 1540 (feast of Pentecost) at Torre Hermosa, Aragon, (modern Spain) and he died on 15 May 1592 (feast of Pentecost) at Villa Reale, Spain of natural causes.   Patronages – cooks, shepherds, Eucharistic congresses and organisations (proclaimed by Pope Leo XIII on 28 November 1897), Shepherds, Male Children and Priesthood Vocation, Eucharistic Adoration, Diocese of Segorbe-Castellón de la Plana, Spain, Obado, Bulacan, Philippines.    Like his holy father of the Franciscans, St Francis of Assisi, St Paschal is best known for his strong and deep devotion to the Eucharist, which manifested in his childhood.'Saint_Paschal_Baylon',_anonymous_Mexican_retablo,_oil_on_tin,_mid_19th_century,_El_Paso_Museum_of_Art

Paschal Baylon 2

In Paschal’s lifetime the Spanish empire in the New World was at the height of its power, though France and England were soon to reduce its influence.   The 16th century has been called the Golden Age of the Church in Spain, for it gave birth to Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Peter of Alcantara, Francis Solano, Salvator of Horta, St John of Avila and many others.

Paschal’s Spanish parents were poor and pious.   Between the ages of seven and 24 he worked as a shepherd and began a life of mortification.   He was able to pray on the job and was especially attentive to the church bell, which rang at the Elevation during Mass. Paschal had a very honest streak in him.   He once offered to pay owners of crops for any damage his animals caused!

In 1564, Paschal joined the Friars Minor and gave himself wholeheartedly to a life of penance.   Though he was urged to study for the priesthood, he chose to be a brother.   At various times he served as porter, cook, gardener and official beggar.Espinosa_San_Pascual_Baylon_XVIIst paschal baylon

Paschal was careful to observe the vow of poverty.  He would never waste any food or anything given for the use of the friars.   When he was porter and took care of the poor coming to the door, he developed a reputation for great generosity.   The friars sometimes tried to moderate his liberality!

Paschal spent his spare moments praying before the Blessed Sacrament.   In time, many people sought his wise counsel.    It was Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, that gave St Paschal great wisdom.   He was hardly able to read and write but he was able to hold intelligent conversations with learned doctors in theology.   Some of the theologians felt that Paschal was inspired by God.   The priests of the monastery used to ask his advice about preaching.   When the saint spoke about the Birth of Jesus and the Last Supper, it was as though he had been present at these events. st paschal baylon and the eucharist

On Whit-Sunday, in 1592, St Paschal turned fifty-two years old.   He knew that death was near and tried to put his habit on but being very weak he fell to the floor.   Just then, a Brother entered. He placed the habit on Paschal and put him in bed.

During this time the monks told Paschal that Mass had started and his heart was filled with joy.   As the monastery bell was ringing for the Elevation of the Host, the dying saint said, “Jesus, Jesus,” and then breathed his last.   The news of his death spread like fire over the whole country.

On the day of St Paschal’s funeral Mass, a wonderful miracle took place.   Paschal opened his eyes from the coffin and looked at the Host and the Chalice during the elevation of the Mass  – He adored God publicly, even though he was dead.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about St Paschal, are the strange happenings known as the “Knocks of St Paschal.”   At first, the knocks came from Paschal’s tomb.   Later they came from relics and pictures of the saint.   Sometimes the knocks have come as a kind of warning, to let people know that a terrible event was about to take place.   It is also said that in Spain and Italy, those who are devoted to St Paschal, are warned about their death, days before, so that they may have a chance to receive the Last Sacraments.

People flocked to his tomb immediately after his burial; miracles were reported promptly.   Paschal was Canonised in 1690 and was named patron of Eucharistic congresses and societies in 1897.

More on St Paschal here:

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