St. Conrad of Piacenza, Hermit | Saint of the Day | February 19

Prayer to St. Conrad of Piacenza, Hermit

Lord God, You alone are holy and no one is good without You. Through the intercession of St. Conrad help us to live in such a way that we may not be deprived of a share in Your glory. Amen. 

Born into a noble family of Piacenza, Italy, in 1290, St. Conrad married a nobleman’s daughter in his youth. While on a hunting party, he had some brush set afire to flush a quarry; the fire spread and destroyed an entire grain field and a neighboring forest.

Unable to put out the flames, Conrad and his men fled to the city, and an innocent peasant was apprehended, tortured, and condemned to death as the perpetrator of the deed. When Conrad saw the doomed man on the way to being executed, he was horrified and publicly confessed his responsibility for the disaster. He and his wife sacrificed their wealth to make restitution.

This event inspired both spouses to enter religious life. Conrad, then twenty-five years old, joined a group of Third Order Franciscan hermits, and his wife entered the Poor Clares. In quest of more solitude, Conrad retired to a hermitage in the Noto Valley near Syracuse, Sicily, where for the next thirty-six years he lived a life of prayer and severe penance, spending a great part of his time caring for the sick in a nearby hospital. He died in 1351, and was canonized in 1625 by Pope Urban VIII.