Spirituality for Today – January 2011 – Volume 15, Issue 6

Saint of the Month
St. Andrew Corsini, January 6

An image of Saint CorsiniSaint Andrew Corsini

Born in 1302 to a prominent Italian family, Andrew was an unruly child. One day, his disappointed mother despaired aloud to him, "I see you are indeed the wolf I saw in my sleep." She then explained that while pregnant with him, she had dreamed she gave birth to a wolf that ran into a church and became a lamb. Chastened by his mother's rebukes, Andrew went to the local Carmelite Church the next day. After fervent prayer, he decided to join the Carmelite Order.

Through continued prayer, study and self-sacrifice, Andrew grew spiritually. Known for his gifts of prophecy and healing, he also possessed a talent for helping those who led dissolute lives. He once helped his cousin, for instance, break free from his addiction to gambling.

When the Bishop of Fiesole died in 1349, Andrew was chosen to replace him. Thinking he was unworthy of the post, he hid in another monastery. His fellow priests were about to name another when a child accidentally found Andrew. As Bishop, he continued to live humbly, sleeping on a bed of vines and washing the feet of the poor every Thursday.

Besides his constant charity to the poor, Andrew was a skilled peacemaker. He was often able to help restore public calm if tempers threatened to erupt. When a bitter dispute arose between the nobility and people of Bologna, Pope Urban V sent Andrew to resolve the matter. He negotiated a peace that lasted for many years.

While singing Mass on Christmas night in 1372, Andrew became ill. The wolf-turned-lamb by God's grace passed away on the Epiphany, January 6, 1373.

Almighty and eternal God,
May Your grace enkindle in all of us
a love for the many unfortunate people
whom poverty and misery reduce to a condition of life
unworthy of human beings.
Arouse in the hearts of those who call You Father
a hunger and thirst for social justice
and for fraternal charity in deeds and in truth.
Grant, O Lord, peace in our days:
peace to souls,
peace in families,
peace to our country,
and peace among nations.

From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives