Saturday, November 13, 2010

Memorial of St Diego de Alcalá (Didacus)

"Didacus was a Spaniard, and was born at the little town of San Nicolás del Puerto, in the diocese of Seville.  From his childhood he learnt the more holy life under a godly Priest in a lonely church, and so served his apprenticeship.  Afterwards, being fain to be more utterly God's only, he professed himself as a lay brother under the Rule of St. Francis in the convent of the Friars Minor, called Observant, of Arrizafa.  There he cheerfully bore the yoke of the lowliest obedience and the strictest observance.  He was much given to contemplation, and a wonderful light from God shone in him, so that, though he was untaught, he could speak touching heavenly things strangely and as it were supernaturally.

In the Canary Islands, where he was warden of the brethren of his Order, he underwent much, earnestly willing to be a martyr, and by his word and ensample brought many unbelievers to Christ.  He came to Rome in the year of the Jubilee, in the reign of Pope Nicholas V, and there was set to tend the sick in the Convent of Ara Coeli, which work he did with such love, that although the city was plagued with a famine, the sufferers (whose sores he would sometimes cleanse even with his tongue) scarcely lacked anything needful.  He was a burning and shining light of faith, and had the gift of healing, taking the oil from the lamp which burned before the image of the most blessed Mother of God, to whom he was earnestly devoted, and anointing the sick therewith, whereupon many were marvellously cured.

He was at Alcalá when he understood that the end of his life was at hand.  Clothed in a ragged cast-away habit, he fixed his eyes upon the Cross, and said with extraordinary earnestness: Sweet the nails, and sweet the iron, sweet the Weight that hung on thee, thou that wast chosen to up-bear the Lord, the King of heaven, and so he gave up his soul to God, upon the 12th day of November, in the year of our Lord 1463.  To satisfy the godly wishes of the multitude, his body was kept unburied for not a few months, and lay in a right sweet savour, as though the corruptible had already put on incorruption.  He was famous for many and great miracles, and Pope Sixtus V enrolled him in the number of the Saints."

-- From the 1911 Breviary of St Pius X (1955 ed)

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