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Saint of the Day: St. John of Matha

Inspired to free captive Christians


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His life

+ John was born in the Provence region of France and was educated as a gentleman. Finding his family’s way of life disagreeable, he spent some time living as a hermit before traveling to Paris and earning a doctorate in theology and being ordained a priest.

+ As John celebrated his first Mass, he received inspiration to devote his life to ransoming Christians enslaved by the Moors.

+ With the help of Saint Felix of Valois, John traveled to Rome and obtained the approval of Pope Innocent III for a new religious community. This order was named for the Most Holy Trinity—the Trinitarians—and was dedicated to ransoming captive Christians and the works of mercy.

+ Members of this community traveled to Morocco, Tunisia, and Spain, where they obtained the release of hundreds of captives. Few details of John’s life have survived, but the enduring mission of the Trinitarians attests to the vision and mission of their founder.

+ Saint John de Matha died in 1213 and was canonized in 1666.

Note: In the privileged days from December 17 to 23, the texts provided for prayer and reflection will be the “O” Antiphons, which are recited during Evening Prayer on each of these days. The closing prayer for each day will be the collect for the Mass of the day.

For prayer and reflection

O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care. Come and show your people the way to salvation.


O God, Creator and Redeemer of human nature,
who willed that your Word should take flesh
in an ever-virgin womb,
look with favor on our prayers,
that your Only Begotten Son,
having taken to himself our humanity,
may be pleased to grant us a share in his divinity.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal: Collect for December 17)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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