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Saint of the Day: St. Michael of the Saints
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Saint Nicholas Tavelic and Companions

Refused to deny the faith...


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Franciscan Friars and Martyrs (d. 1391)

Their story

+ Nicholas Tavelic was born in Šibenik, Croatia. He became a Franciscan friar in 1365 and was among 60 friars from various Franciscan provinces to establish missions in Bosnia. He spent 12 years serving there before beginning a new mission.

+ In 1384, Nicholas went to serve with other Franciscan friars in the Holy Land. There, with Deodatus Aribert, Peter of Narbonne, and Stephen of Cuneo, he lived in the Friary of Mount Zion, an ancient religious house the Franciscans maintained in Jerusalem. There, the four friars studied Arabic and served in the holy shrines associated with the life of Jesus.

+ Nicholas and companions decided to begin openly preaching Christianity among the largely Muslim community. They were subsequently arrested and refused to deny their Christian Faith. After spending considerable time in prison, the four friars were martyred near the Jaffa Gate on November 14, 1391.

+ The four friars were canonized in 1970 and Saint Nicholas Tavelic is honored as the first Croatian saint.

Spiritual bonus

For more than 800 years, Franciscan Friars have ministered to Christians and to those of all faiths in the Holy Land. This tradition of mission and service dates back to Saint Francis of Assisi himself. To learn more about the work of the Franciscans in the Holy Land, visit:


“May we never boast, except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the word of the Cross is the power of God to us who have been saved.”—Entrance Antiphon for the Mass for Several Missionary-Martyrs (cf. Galatians 6:14; 1 Corinthians 1:18)


Almighty God,

you glorified Saint Nicholas and companions

by their zeal in spreading the faith and their crown of martyrdom.

Through their prayers and example

help us to run the way of your commandments

and to receive the crown of eternal life.

We ask this 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 Franciscan Supplement to the Liturgy of the Hours)

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

Access our archives of daily saint biographies here
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