Capuchin Priest and Martyr (1578-1622)
+ Mark Roy was born in the town of Sigmaringen, Germany, in 1578.
+ After earning doctorates in philosophy, civil and Canon law, he was ordained a priest and entered the Order of Friars Minor Capuchins, taking “Fidelis” as his religious name. He quickly gained a reputation of holiness for his penance, vigils and prayer.
+ Dedicated to preaching, he was commissioned by the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith to preach to the people of the canton of the Grisons, who had recently converted to Protestantism.
+ On April 24, 1622, Fidelis was preaching a sermon on the text, “There is One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism,” when an attempt was made on his life. Refusing to flee the church or seek refuge, he was later attacked by twenty armed men who beat him to death.
+ Saint Fidelis was canonized in 1746 and his feast was extended to the Universal Church in 1771. He is honored as one of the patrons of lawyers.
For prayer and reflection
“[Saint Fidelis] practiced the fullness of charity in bringing consolation and relief to his neighbors as well as to strangers. With a father’s love he embraced all those who were in trouble.”—Pope Benedict XIV
On this day, we also remember Saint Maria Elizabeth Hesselblad. Born in Sweden and Raised as a Protestant, it was during her time working as a nurse among the largely immigrant, Catholic communities in New York City, that led her to seek to become a Catholic. In 1906, she received permission to take the habit of the Brigittine Order and she dedicated her life to help reestablish the Order in Sweden and, later, in Rome. She worked to help protect Jews from the Nazis by giving them sanctuary in the Brigittine monastery in Rome. For this work, she was recognized as one of the “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem. Saint Maria Elizabeth died on April 24, 1957, and was canonized in 2016.
O God, who were pleased to award
the palm of martyrdom to Saint Fidelis
as, burning with love for you, he propagated the faith,
grant, we pray, through his intercession,
that, grounded in charity,
we may merit to know with him
the power of the Resurrection of Christ.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.