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Saint of the Day

St. John of Capistrano

October 23
Born in Capistrano, Italy in 1386.
Died in Villach, Hungary in 1456.

Son of a German knight, his father died when John was still young. The young man studied law at the University of Perugia, and worked as a lawyer in Naples, Italy. Reforming governor of Perugia under King Landislas of Naples. When war broke out between Perugia and the House of Malatesta from Rimini, Italy in 1416, John tried to broker a peace, but when the opponents ignored the truce, John became a prisoner of war.

During his imprisonment, John came to the decision to change vocations. He had married just before the war, but the marriage was never consummated, and with his bride's permission, it was annulled. He joined the Franciscans at Perugia on 4 October 1416. Fellow student with Saint James of the Marches. Disciple of Saint Bernadine of Siena. Noted preacher while still a deacon, beginning his work in 1420. Itinerant priest throughout Italy, Germany, Bohemia, Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Russia, preaching to tens of thousands. Established communities of Franciscan renewal. John was reported to heal by making the Sign of the Cross over a sick person. Wrote extensively, mainly against the heresies of the day.

After the fall of Constantinople, he preached Crusade against the Muslim Turks. At age 70 he was commissioned by Pope Callistus II to lead it, and marched off at the head of 70,000 Christian soldiers. He won the great battle of Belgrade in the summer of 1456. He died in the field a few months later, but his army delivered Europe from the Muslims.

Lord, You raised up St. John to console your people in their distress.
Grant that we may be always safe under Your protection and preserve Your Church in unending peace. Amen.

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