Spirituality for Today – April 2015 – Volume 19, Issue 9

Saint of the Month
St. Vincent Ferrer

April 5

A painting of Vincent FerrerSaint Vincent Ferrer

Vincent was the son of an Englishman who had moved to Valencia, and his Spanish wife. Drawn to a religious life as a youngster, Vincent entered a Dominican monastery while in his teens. He excelled in academics and began lecturing on philosophy before he reached age 21.

Ordained in 1374, Vincent soon earned his doctorate in theology, and in 1379, he was appointed prior of the Dominican house in Valencia. Already a recognized writer and theologian, Vincent earned a reputation as an effective preacher as well. He considered himself a sinner in need of God's mercy, and his sermons stressed forgiveness and repentance in preparation for the final judgment. Vincent also devoted much of his time to converting 25,000 Jews to Christianity.

Vincent's service coincided with the Great Western Schism, a period when the Pope's authority was challenged by rivals in France. Vincent was drawn into the controversy when, in 1394, he was summoned to serve as advisor to his good friend Cardinal Peter de Luna upon the latter's appointment as the new Antipope. Vincent soon came to the conclusion that the French leaders were misguided and, with the utmost diplomacy, tried to convince Peter to settle the dispute.

During his peace-making attempts, Vincent was inspired by a vision to minister to the world. He embarked on an extraordinary missionary journey through Spain, France, Italy and Germany. Thousands were moved by his words and the miracles he performed. During this time, Vincent continued to press leaders to work toward reuniting the Church, a goal that was realized just two years before his death in Brittany.

guide those who toil in the fact of great hardship
to bring Your truth to foreign lands.
Help them help others, Lord,
by granting them strength and courage.
Protect them from danger as they do Your will,
and bless them with the words to teach the glory of Your love.
Let the light of Your presence shine through them.

From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives