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May 11

St Ignatius of Laconi - May 1

Saint Ignatius of Laconi
Lay Brother
(1701 – 1781)

“This is the blood of the poor; squeezed from them by usury. That is why I never ask for anything at that house.”

Saint Ignatius of Laconi explaining why he would skip the house of a rich money-lender, a man who never forgave a debt

His Early Years

Vincenzo (Vincent) Peis (also known as Ignazio da Laconi) was born on December 10, 1701 in Laconi, Sardinia, Italy. He was the second of seven children born to poor peasant farmer Mattia Peis and Anna Maria Sanna. He was baptised as “Francesco Ignazio Vincenzo” since he was born out of a difficult pregnancy in which her mother invoked the intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi. Ignatius grew up in hard rural poverty, working the fields. In his childhood, Vincent often called the local church his “home” and took Saint Lawrence of Brindisi as his personal role model.

Abbot

Horrified, after his father killed a relative in a dispute over some property, at which he was forced to be present, Romuald sought to atone for the crime by doing 40 days of penance for his father at the monastery of St. Apollinare at Classe, Italy near Ravenna.

These 40 days confirmed Romuald’s monastic calling, as they became the foundation for an entire life of penance. Romuald became a Benedictine monk and then, from 996 to 999, he was the abbot. Romuald’s strict asceticism brought him into conflict with some of the other monks. So, he left the area near Ravenna and went to Venice, where he became the disciple of the hermit Marinus and lived a life of extraordinary severity.

Physically Illness and Mishaps

At age 17 in 1719, Vincent suffered a serious illness that made him vow that he would consecrate himself to God and join the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin if he managed to recover from it. He did so recover. But, after his father convinced him to wait since Vincent helped him in the fields, Vincent put off the fulfillment of his vow and delayed entering religious life.

However, at 20 years old, Vincent experienced another life-threatening incident. While riding a horse, he lost control, but suddenly the horse came to a halt and calmly trotted on. Vincent believed that God had intervened to save his life once again. So, without delay, Vincent made the decision to pursue his religious vocation.

Joined Capuchin Monastery

On November 2, 1721, the 20-year-old Vincent, together with his father, traveled to Cagliari. At St. Anthony Friary, situated on the hill called Buoncammino, Vincent made his request to Francis Mary of Cagliari, the Capuchin provincial minister. The minister’s response was a quick, cold “no.” The provincial judged that Vincent’s frail constitution was too much of an obstacle for living the austere, rigorous life of a Capuchin. The family asked the Marquis of Laconi, Don Gabriel Aymerich, protector of the Peis family,to intervene on Vincent’s behalf. On the following day, the marquis and the provincial minister met and decided to allow Vincent to enter the Capuchins.

A year later, in November 1722, at the isolated novitiate of St. Benedict the Abbot, Vincent laid aside the traditional Laconese costume and wore the Capuchin habit. As a Capuchin lay brother, he was given the name, Ignatius. He dedicated himself to a life of service and devotion.

Alms Beggar

For the next fifteen years, from 1722 up until 1737, Ignatius worked in the monastery’s weaving shed. However, in 1740, Ignatius was assigned to a team that would go from house to house, seeking donations and food for the friars. He travelled about on foot in all kinds of weather, meeting with refusals and contradictions but he never gave up.

People quickly realized that they received more than just material goods when Brother Ignatius visited their homes. He offered solace to the sick and lonely, brought joy to the children of the streets, and mediated conflicts between enemies. Ignatius refused to take the money from the very poor, saying that it was better for them to keep it for themselves. He had a remarkable ability to convert sinners and dispense wise advice to those in trouble.

Money-Lender

It was noticed that Ignatius deliberately skipped the house of a wealthy money-lender during his rounds. This man never forgave any debts and felt slighted by Ignatius passing by without requesting anything from him. The money-lender complained to Ignatius’ superior, who was unaware of the situation. As a result, Ignatius was sent to the money-lender’s house. To everyone’s surprise, Ignatius returned with a large sack of food. However, when the sack was opened, blood spilled out. “This is the blood of the poor,” Ignatius softly explained. “That is why I never ask for anything at that house.”

Brother in Prison

His brother was sent to prison and it was hoped that – in view of reputation of Brother Ignatius – the latter could obtain his brother’s release. His superior sent him to speak to the governor but Ignatius just asked that his brother be dealt with according to justice.

His Reputation

Though he was illiterate, Ignatius loved to listen to the Gospels, especially the Passion accounts, and was favored with the gifts of prophecy and miracles. He would pass whole hours in prayer before the tabernacle.

The people of Cagliari were inspired by his kindness and his faithfulness to his work. Ignatius lived a life marked by humility, selflessness, and devotion to the poor and needy. Many miracles of healing were said to have occurred through his intercession.

His Death

Even though he had poor health and other infirmities, Ignatius continued to work making his collections, even though it was difficult. He lost his eyesight in 1779, but he continued for the benefit of those around him.​

Ignatius died on May 11, 1781, in Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy, of natural causes. He was buried in the Capuchin friary in Cagliari.

Pope Pius XII canonized St. Ignatius of Laconi on October 21, 1945 and called him: “A hero of sanctity, of humble birth, who lived his life in lowly conditions… Long and difficult tasks seemed easy to him; easy, too, was the obedience he gave to his superiors. For him even the most painful corporal sufferings were light and sweet, all because he accepted whatever happened to him, whether agreeable or disagreeable, with complete resignation. He relied entirely on the will of God. That was the source of his strength.”

Born :                   December 10, 1701 in Laconi, Sardinia, Italy

Died:                    May 11, 1781 in Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Beatified:            June 16, 1940 by Pope Pius XII

Canonized:         October 21 1951 by Pope Pius XII

Feast Day:          May 11

Patron Saint:     Beggars; Domusnovas, Italy; Students

Source:

Reflection 

Saint Ignatius of Laconi never had any important position in the Franciscan order. He had a tough job in a difficult environment begging for alms on the dirty streets. He was humble, even in suffering in these lowly conditions. With this attitude, the citizens of Cagliari gave him their respect. Saint Ignatius of Laconi’s life reminds us that everything God considers worthwhile does not have a high-paying salary attached to it.

What menial tasks do you have to do today that you can offer up to God? When you rely on God’s will, like Saint Ignatius of Laconi, you are given God’s grace, wisdom and strength to complete them.

Prayers

Saint Ignatius of Laconi,

You who lived a life of humility, simplicity, and compassion advocating tirelessly for the poor and sick, intercede for us today.

Help us, dear St. Ignatius, to follow your example of selflessness and devotion, to see Christ in the faces of those in need, and to serve them with love and compassion.

Guide us in our journey of faith and teach us to trust in Divine Providence, knowing that God’s love and care are always with us.

May be inspired by your life of holiness and virtue, and that through our actions, others may come to know and love God more deeply.

Saint Ignatius of Laconi, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

All Saints & Martyrs – Saint Ignatius of Laconi – Religious

AnaStpaul – Saint of the Day – 11 May – St Ignatius of Laconi O.F.M. Cap. (1701-1781)

Angelus – Saint of the day: Ignatius of Laconi

Capuchin Franciscans – May 11 St. Ignatius of Laconi

Catholic Online – St. Ignatius of Laconi

CatholicSaints.Info – Saints of the Day – Ignatius of Laconi – by Katherine I Rabenstein

Daily Prayers – Ignatius of Laconi

Find a Grave – Saint Ignazio Vincenzo da Laconi

Franciscan Media – Saint Ignatius of Laconi

Roman Catholic Saints – Saint Ignatius of Laconi

Saints, Feast, Family – Saint Ignatius of Laconi

Saint Mary’s Press – Saint Ignatius of Laconi (1701-1781)

Saint of the Day – May 11 St. Ignatius of Laconi

The Daily Mass – St. Ignatius of Laconi

Video Link

Cradio Saint of the Day: Saint Ignatius of Laconi – YouTube (CatholicSaints.Info)