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4 Saints who survived horrific storms and droughts

3D Illustration, Digital Art, A storm in the middle of the ocean with extremely agitated big waves and dangerous thunders.

Felipe Teixeira | Shutterstock

Cerith Gardiner - published on 09/05/23

These men of faith had to face some serious weather conditions while trying to spread the Word of God.

With hurricane season in full swing, people may be feeling anxious about potential danger to their homes, or even their lives. That’s understandable if you consider the force and unpredictability of Mother Nature. A great number of lives have been lost due to extreme weather conditions over the years.

Nowadays, there are often warnings and evacuation plans that help reduce the death toll. But, along with the marvels that come with modern technology, there are some powerful intercessors to reach out to.

These saints had to endure some pretty horrific storms. However, thanks to their faith they battled through and were able to convert many to the Catholic faith.

St. Francis Solanus (1549-1610)

This Spanish Franciscan priest set out by boat on a missionary to South America. During his long trip to Peru, Fr. Francis used his time to talk to those who’d been enslaved and were considered nothing more than cargo.

While still at sea, however, a terrible storm split the boat in half. The captain and crew abandoned ship. In contrast, Fr. Francis not only refused his place on the lifeboat, but he also stayed behind to set about baptizing the enslaved people.

As well as his seeing to their spiritual needs, Fr. Francis got many to safety and remained with them praying. Their prayers were answered. Incredibly, after three days, they were found and rescued.

Bl. Giovanni Battista Mazzucconi (1826-1855)

This Italian priest was also a missionary, but in Papua New Guinea. Although he arrived on the island safely, he contracted malaria while preaching the Gospel to the native people. Fr. Giovanni was sent to Sydney for treatment. At this point, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that his voyage didn’t go according to plan.

Fr. Giovanni’s ship was struck by a tropical cyclone on Wednesday of Holy Week. As a result, the ship was left without a mast or sails. It was swept along by the stormy winds for a full four days. On Easter Sunday they awoke to clear skies.

Once healed, Fr. Giovanni Battista had to make a return ship to Papua New Guinea. In a letter he said, “Well, that God who saved me then will be with me again in this journey.” And he did indeed survive the trip. However, once on land, the priest was greeted by a leader of the people he had attempted to evangelize. While Fr. Giovanni believed that the man was reaching out to him in friendship, the man instead killed the missionary priest with a concealed weapon.

Bl. Peter Kibe (1587-1639)

This Japanese Jesuit priest showed incredible determination in his vocation. Not only did he have to wait 14 years to find a bishop willing to ordain him, Peter Kibe also had to walk 3,700 miles to fulfill his mission.

If that weren’t enough, he then had to embark on eight years of travel to return to his native Japan. To make matters worse, just as he was reaching the end of his travels, he was unable to find anybody willing to take a Christian to Japan. Instead, while in Manila, he built his own ship.

Fr. Kibe had to traverse the Philippine Sea right in the midst of typhoon season. He and his crew had crossed much of the sea when a typhoon suddenly struck. They were all shipwrecked. Fortunately, everyone survived. They were washed ashore, off the coast of Kagoshima, in the exact same location as St. Francis Xavier had landed when he went to preach the Gospel in Japan.

After his grueling travels, Fr. Kibe served as a priest for eight years before being captured and martyred.

St. Joseph Vaz (1651-1711)

This Indian priest served for many years in Sri Lanka, in the parts of the island that were controlled by Calvinists. Catholicism was strictly outlawed in these areas. Thanks to his Indian and Portuguese parentage, however, the authorities did not detect that he was actually a priest.

Fr. Joseph was able to beg from door to door, wearing a rosary around his neck, drawing out covert Catholics. Eventually he was captured by the king of Kandy, a small kingdom on the island. He demonstrated God’s power when he prayed for rain to end a drought. Immediately there was a downpour — although Fr. Joseph remained bone dry. This was enough for the king to grant him permission to evangelize the whole island.

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