+ Ferdinand became King of Castile (in modern-day Spain) in 1217 and was crowned King of Léon in 1230.
+ A successful soldier, he was also a wise administrator and founded the Universities of Salamanca and Valladolid.
+ King Ferdinand was a member of the Franciscan third order and was especially dedicated to helping religious life flourish in his kingdoms. He also oversaw the rebuilding of the cathedral in Burgos and converted the great mosque of Seville into a cathedral for that city.
+ Saint Ferdinand III of Castile died on May 30, 1252, and was canonized in 1671. He is honored as one of the patrons of Spain and his memory is traditionally celebrated May 30.
Saint Ferdinand is most often depicted holding his sword, which he’d named Lobera (“the world-slaying sword”). A successful soldier, Pope Innocent IV named him “invincible champion of Christ.” This sword is kept as a relic of Saint Ferdinand in the Capilla Real in the cathedral of Seville. This same church also houses the relics of Saints Isidore and Leander, as well as the grave of Christopher Columbus.
“He that rules over men in justice, / that rules in the fear of God, / is like the morning light at sunrise on a cloudless morning, / making the greensward sparkle with rain.”—2 Samuel 23:3-4
O God, who alone are holy and without whom no one is good, command, we pray, through the intercession of blessed Ferdinand, that we be numbered among those who do not deserve to be deprived of your glory. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Holy Men and Women—For One Saint)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.