Thursday, March 18, 2010
Saint Vincent Ferrer
Feast Day: April 5
Saint Vincent Ferrer was born at Valencia, Spain on January 23, 1357.
In 1374, he entered the Order of St. Dominic and on the following year was sent to the house of studies at Barcelona. He received his doctorate at Catalonia and devoted most of his time to preaching. For twenty years, St. Vincent Ferrer evangelized nearly every province of his country and had tread through Western Europe preaching in France, Italy, Germany, the Alpine Region, Flanders, England, Ireland and Scotland. People flocked as he preached in marketplaces and squares and though St Vincent Ferrer could only speak the language of Valencia, multitudes were won over by his preaching and numerous conversions were made. For this, he was known as the missionary of the fourteenth century.
Saint Vincent labored zealously among the people. He not only preached but he lived them. He arose at two in the morning for prayer and meditation. Celebrated the daily Mass at six, preached, visited the sick and made himself available for spiritual counseling. At eight in the evening, St. Vincent Ferrer would prepare his sermon for the next day. He lived simply and refused all ecclesiastical dignities, including the opportunity to be a cardinal.
St Vincent Ferrer lived in an era when the Church was divided by the great schism. During his last days, St Vincent lived to see the Council of Constance ending the Western Schism and electing Martin V as pope.
Because of his work in uniting and building the church in brotherly love, St. Vincent Ferrer became the patron saint of builders.
St. Vincent Ferrer’s zeal is remarkable. He worked for the salvation of souls and for unity in the Church. He also showed great humility and patience in bearing all things for the love of Christ and for the work of the Church.
For someone who had constantly preached about brotherly love and unity, the schism must have been a constant source of misery to St. Vincent Ferrer. And what amazes me is that God in His goodness, relieved St Vincent of this burden by letting him witness the end of the great schism.