Today's Saint

St. Lawrence of Brindisi

St. Lawrence of Brindisi (1559-1619) was a Capuchin priest known for his great scholarship and powerful preaching. His parents died when he was a child, and his uncle arranged for him to study at the College of St. Mark in Venice. At the age of sixteen Lawrence joined the Capuchins (a branch of the Franciscan Order), and in his studies at the University of Padua he showed a remarkable facility for languages, becoming fluent in seven of them. Lawrence was ordained a priest at the age of twenty-three.

His linguistic abilities made it possible for him to study the Bible in the original texts, and he gained a reputation as a Scripture scholar. At the request of the pope, he spent much time preaching to the Jews in Italy, and his knowledge of Hebrew greatly impressed the Jewish rabbis. Though a scholar, Lawrence was also a man of action; he held a number of important positions in the Capuchin order, and was entrusted with various diplomatic and political missions. He preached throughout Europe, particularly to Jews and Lutherans; in 1601 Lawrence gave advice to European generals fighting the Turks in Hungary, and even led troops into battle, armed with a crucifix. However, Lawrence is better known as a peacemaker; he had a great sensitivity to the needs of others, and served as a papal emissary, attempting to negotiate peace treaties between warring kingdoms. While on such a mission to the king of Spain, St. Lawrence contracted a serious illness and died on his sixtieth birthday.

Other Saints We Remember Today

St. Praxedes (2nd Century): Virgin; assisted Christians during the persecution of the Church under Marcus Aurelius (r. 161-180); sister of St. Pudentiana