Saint. Francis of Paola. Feast Day. April 2nd. Francis was born in 1416 in the Italian province of Calabria to devout Catholic parents. His parents remained childless until they prayed to St Francis of Assisi for his intercession,not long after Francis was born. From his early years he demonstrated signs of extraordinary holiness and at the age of 13 he entered a Franciscan order. After a pilgrimage to Rome with his parents he left the monastery to adopt an ascetic life of solitude dwelling in a cave on his fathers estate for 6 years. In 1435 two like minded companions joined him and thus began the formation of the order of the Hermits of Saint Francis of Assisi later renamed as the Minim Friars. This name refers to their role as the ” least of the faithful” and conveys their deep humility and littleness as compared to God. Francis was a vegan and the community abstained from all animal products, living a life of great austerity, religious contemplation and severe self mortification. Francis disciples rapidly increased and in 1445 with the permission of Archbishop Consenza ,Francis built his first monastery and church. In 1474 Pope Sixtus 1V allowed him to establish a rule for his community and when pope Alexander V1 approved the order ,Francis went on to build several monasteries throughout Calabria and Sicily. He also established a tertiary order and a monastery for nuns. His final years due to a disagreement with the king of Naples were spent in France where a monastery was built for him . Francis died on Holy Thursday in 1507 aged 91 and was canonised by Pope Leo X in 1519.
Saint Isidore of Seville. Feast Day. April 4th. Isidore was born in Cartagena in Spain in 560 to affluent devout Spanish Roman parents. Literally he was born in to a family of saints, his brothers served as bishops and his sister Florentian was a nun. Isidore was an erudite young man ,extremely well educated, many regard him as , ” The Last Scholar of the Ancient World”. Isidore was appointed Bishop of Seville and held this position for 37 years succeeding his elder brother Leander. He presided over many synods and councils, including those of Toledo and Seville where the Canons which were to be the basis of Spanish constitutional law were laid down. During his life he was greatly involved in the conversion of royal Visigoth Arians to Catholicism . Isidore was an exceptional scholar and his love of learning made him promote the establishment of a seminary in every diocese in Spain. The author of many literary and theological works he is probably most renown for his etymological encyclopedia, ” Etmologiae” which assembled the writings of many works of classical antiquity that otherwise would have been lost. He died in 636 in Seville and was canonised by Pope Clement V111 in 1598. He was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1722 by Pope Benedict X1V and is the Patron saint of computer technicians and Seville.
Saint Vincent Ferrer.Feast Day April 5th. Vincent was a famous Spanish Dominican missionary, born in Valencia in 1350 to a wealthy family of nobility. When he was 18 years of age he entered the Dominican order in a monastery near his native town and in 1379 he was ordained as a priest in Barcelona. Vincent lived in what was probably the darkest period of the Church history, due to the Western schism in the Church. He greatly tried to repair this divide especially under the rule and authority of Pope Benedict X111,who was then considered the anti Pope as opposed to Rome. Benedict took his Papal seat in Avignon in France and employed Vincent as Master of the Sacred Palace and as an an apostolic penitentiary.Vincents main strength lay in his missionary work and eloquent preaching ,for 21 years he travelled through Europe converting many souls to Christianity ,including a rabbi who late became well known as Bishop Paul of Burgos. Many individuals sought his advice including Queen Yolanda of Aragon to whom he was confessor. He was also greatly involved with trying to reduce the harsh conditions of the poor and conducted the establishement of several orphanages. Vincent died in 1419 in Vannes , France ,where his body is buried in the cathedral . He was canonised in 1455 by Pope Clixtus 111 and is the Patron saint of Valencia, orphans and builders.