Saints of the Week

S. John of Capistrano – 23rd October


S. John was born in 1386 and was an Italian friar, theologian and inquisitor.  He was born in the village of Capistrano, in the diocese of Sulmona in the Abruzzi.  When war broke out between Perugia and Sigismondo Malatesta in 1416, John was sent as ambassador to broker a peace, but Malatesta threw him in prison and it was whilst he was in prison that he had a vision which made him long to enter religion.  He joined the Franciscan Order in 1416 and began to preach throughout Italy.  He was several times Vicar-General of the Order.  He also preached in various countries of Eastern Europe and, when he was not preaching, he was writing tracts against heresy of every kind.  He raised an army to fight the Turks in Hungary, and defeated them in 1456.  He died of bubonic plague shortly afterwards.

S. Antony Claret – 24th October


Claret was born at Sallent, near Barcelona (Catalonia) on 23 December 1807, the son of a small woollen manufacturer. He received an elementary education in his native village, and at the age of twelve became a weaver. He was ordained Priest in 1835 and soon became a popular preacher, but his uncompromising preaching gave rise to some hostility.  He established the Congregation of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (16 July, 1849), and founded the great religious library at Barcelona which was called "Librería Religiosa" (now Librería Claret), and which has issued several million cheap copies of the best ancient and modern Catholic works. In 1850 he was appointed Bishop of Santiago and spent six years of arduous pastoral work there, during which he antagonised the slave owners and had several attempts made on his life.  In February, 1857, he was recalled to Spain by Queen Isabella II, who made him her confessor. He obtained permission to resign his see and was appointed to the titular see of Trajanopolis. His influence was now directed solely to help the poor and to propagate learning; he lived frugally and took up his residence in an Italian hospice.  In 1868, revolution forced him to go into exile in France where he died in 1870.

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