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Wednesday 22 September |
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Saint John of Matha

Inspired to free captive Christians


Public Domain

Founder of the Trinitarians (1160-1213)

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.

Spiritual bonus

On December 17, the Season of Advent invites us to shirt our focus from the Christ of Majesty at the end of time to the Child who will be born in Bethlehem. This evening, the Church begins to pray the great “O” Antiphons, honoring the Savior is to be born in Bethlehem with titles drawn from the Hebrew Scriptures. Tonight, we will honor the Savior with the title “O Wisdom.”


To learn more about the Trinitarian priests and brothers, visit:

To learn about contemplative Trinitarian nuns of Euclid, Ohio, visit:


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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