St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Priest and Doctor of the Church | Saint of the Day | July 21

Prayer to St. Lawrence of Brindisi

God, for the glory of Your Name and the salvation of souls, You favored St. Lawrence, Your Priest, with the spirit of wisdom and fortitude. Grant that the same spirit we may recognize our obligations and with his help carry them our. Amen.

St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Priest and Doctor of the Church

St. Lawrence was born at Brindisi, Italy, and at age of sixteen entered the Capuchin Franciscan community at Verona. At the University of Padua he made rapid progress in his studies of Philosophy and Theology and showed a remarkable facility for languages. He mastered Greek, Latin, Hebrew, French, Spanish, German, and Bohemian and acquired a wide knowledge of the Scriptures. After his ordination he labored as a domestic missionary and was called to Rome by Clement VIII to work for the conversion of the Jews.

In 1598, St. Lawrence was sent with eleven other Capuchins to establish Capuchin community throughout Germany and Austria which were threatened by Lutheranism at that time. While in the imperial realm, the fame of his holiness, wisdom, and administrative ability led the Emperor Rudolf II, to appoint him to organize the Catholic princes against the invading Turks. At the Battle of Stuhlweissenburg, though the Christians were outnumbered four to one, St. Lawrence roused the low spirits of the soldiers with a powerful oration, mounted a horse and rode before the army with a crucifix held high. The Turks repulsed and Europe was saved.

At the successful conclusion of his other German projects, the Saint returned to seek seclusion in Italy, only to find that he had been elected the Minister General of the Order. He died in 1619 at Lisbon, Portugal, while on mission to present the grievances of the people of Naples to their sovereign, King Philip III of Spain. Though he was a very active person, St. Lawrence was also a man of prayer as well as of deep learning. He was canonized in 1881 by Pope Leo XIII, and in 1960 he was made a Doctor of the Church by Pope John XXIII.