St. Vincent Ferrer (Feast: April 5)
Vincent Ferrer, although born in Valencia in Spain, was from Scotch-English descent on his father’s side.
His parents instilled in him a deep devotion to Our Lord and Our Lady and a tremendous love for the poor.
In 1367 he entered the Dominican Order, and before he reached the age of twenty-one was already teaching philosophy at Lérida, the most famous university in Catalonia.
Transferred to Barcelona to preach to the public, he arrived in the coastal city to find the citizens ravaged by hunger. A famine was raging through that region and the people were desperate for the arrival of a ship of corn. Vincent foretold that the ship would be in harbor before nightfall, and so it happened, at which the people acclaimed the young Dominican preacher a prophet and his superiors cautiously moved him to Toulouse.
Vincent inflamed souls with the ardor of his preaching, rousing sinners to penance, lax Catholics to fervor, and converting a number of Jews to the Faith, one of them the Rabbi of Burgos who went on to become a bishop.
It was the time of the great schism with a pope in Rome and another in Avignon, a time when even saints were confused. For a time Vincent favored Benedict XIII, or Peter de Luna, as he was popularly known, who ruled from the French city of Avignon. Vincent was also de Luna's confessor.
But as the Church began moving to rule against the claim of Peter de Luna, and the latter remained obstinate, Vincent distanced himself from the claimant, and, eventually, played a major role in Benedict XIII’s abdication in favor of Church unity.
Vincent Ferrer preached throughout Europe as far north as the Netherlands, and his learning, ardent preaching and miracles worked numerous conversions.
In one location Vincent worked so many miracles that an hour was reserved every day for healing the sick. At Liguria in Italy he convinced the ladies to modify their fantastic headdress, which one of his biographers calls “the greatest of all his marvelous deeds”.
In Granada in Spain, then under Moorish rule, 8000 Muslims asked for Baptism after hearing him preach.
Vincent spent the last three years of his life in France, where he became ill after preaching a sermon in 1419, and died on Wednesday of Passion Week.
He was canonized in 1455 by Pope Calixtus III.
DAILY QUOTE for May 22, 2019
SAINT OF THE DAY
St. Rita of Cascia
Fatima custodians often meet people who know little or nothing about the Catholic faith. A few years ago I had such an experience in Florida