Nicholas was born in 1245 in Sant’Angelo in the diocese of Fermo. He was named after St. Nicholas of Myra, at whose shrine his parents prayed to have a child. Impressed by the piety of the young man, the Bishop of Fermo allowed Nicholas to become a monk at only eighteen years old, and he was ordained an Augustinian priest seven years later.
Nicholas entered the monastery at Tolentino and very actively administered the Sacraments to the laity. He preached daily and soon gained a reputation as a great preacher and a confessor. The people easily loved and trusted him, and he was often called upon to pray for their deceased loved ones. He became affectionately referred to as the “Patron of Holy Souls.”
In 1274, Nicholas was sent to Tolentino, near his birthplace. The town suffered from civil strife between the Guelphs, who supported the pope, and Ghibellines, who supported the Holy Roman Emperor, in their struggle for control of Italy. Nicholas was primarily a pastor to his flock. He ministered to the poor and to criminals.
It was reported that when he was very ill and was not responding to treatment, he had a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary who told him to eat a small piece of bread that was dipped in water. After doing so, he was miraculously healed. Nicholas prayerfully repeated these steps throughout the community to help the sick, resulting in numerous miracles of healing. Today, Saint Nicholas Breads are still distributed at the shrine of this saint. Nicholas died on September 10, 1305 in Tolentino after a long illness. People began immediately to petition for his canonization. Eugene IV canonized him in 1446, and his relics were rediscovered in 1926 at Tolentino.
Other Saints We Remember Today
- St. Pulcheria (453), Virgin, Empress
- Blesseds Apollinaris, Franco, Charles Spinola and Companions (1622), 205 Martyrs of Japan
image: Luis de Carvajal, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons