Skip to comments.St. John Capistran [John of Capistrano]
Posted on 10/23/2001 6:03:34 PM PDT by Lady In Blue
Spiritual Bouquet: He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet, shall receive a prophet's reward. St. Matthew 10:41"Saint John Capistran">
St. John Capistran
St. John was born at Capistrano, near Naples in Italy, in 1385. Having studied both secular and canon law, he became so skilled in it that his reputation spread over all of Italy. He was imprisoned during a war, abandoned by his protector for some time, during which his young wife died; he resolved then to serve in the future no other interests but those of God. His property was sold by his orders, his ransom paid, and from his prison he entered a monastery near Peruse where the Rule of Saint Francis was observed in its purity.
The superiors, fearing this vocation to be a passing fancy, tested him severely, even sending him away twice; but his heroic perseverance -- he remained day and night at the door, suffering joyfully all trials -- disarmed their fears and severity, and he was admitted to religious profession.
For seven years he practiced great austerities, cared for the sick in the hospitals, and preached on all sides the word of God. In this, say his biographers, he succeeded so admirably that few preachers in the course of all the centuries can be compared with him. He became a disciple of St. Bernardine of Sienna, assisting him in public conferences and discussions. Like many great servants of God he was calumniated, as if he had taught errors; he went to Rome to justify his teachings in the presence of the Pope and a group of cardinals, which he did so admirably they recognized the obvious innocence of the accused Saint.
Afterwards he preached all over Italy, and everywhere brought about the reform of lives. Five Popes gave commissions to this remarkable Franciscan to represent them in important affairs, and he travelled to France, Austria, Poland and Germany. Everywhere his negotiations were crowned with success. But none of the Popes succeeded in raising him to the episcopal dignity; their efforts met an absolute resistance in his humility.
His extraordinary qualities proved to be of great assistance to the Holy See in another circumstance. When Mohammed II was threatening Vienna and Rome, St. John Capistran, at the insistence of Pope Callixtus III, enrolled a crusade of 70,000 Christians. In a vision St. John was assured of victory in the Name of Jesus and by the Cross he bore.
Marching at the head of the crusaders, he entered Belgrade at the head of the army; and this General of the Friars Minor won a remarkable victory in that year of 1455, when 40,000 of the enemies of the Christians perished, but virtually none among the latter. He himself died the following year at the age of 71.
He is regarded as a martyr, for enemies of the faith twice had succeeded in giving him poison, which was ineffective; he died only from the immense fatigue he had suffered in the defense of the city of Belgrade. "An infinity of miracles" followed his death. He was canonized in 1690.
Sources: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, par Mgr Paul Guérin. Paris, Bloud et Barral, 1882.
It was more than humility. John was smart.
The church was in bad shape in the 14th and 15th centuries (read Thomas Costain's history of England and Barbara Tuchman's "A Distant Mirror" for details). Becoming a bishop risked being co-opted by the corruption in Rome, and a genuinely holy man would have a hard time maintaining his sanctity either in Rome or playing politics in a foreign city. The smart ones eschewed ambition and worked as mendicant friars or holed up in a monastery. It was easier to save one's soul that way.
Even the great Francis of Assisi had his problems with the politicians of the Papal Court.
God calls each one of us to be a saint.
October 23, 2006
St. John of Capistrano
It has been said the Christian saints are the worlds greatest optimists. Not blind to the existence and consequences of evil, they base their confidence on the power of Christs redemption. The power of conversion through Christ extends not only to sinful people but also to calamitous events.
Imagine being born in the fourteenth century. One-third of the population and nearly 40 percent of the clergy were wiped out by the bubonic plague. The Western Schism split the Church with two or three claimants to the Holy See at one time. England and France were at war. The city-states of Italy were constantly in conflict. No wonder that gloom dominated the spirit of the culture and the times.
John Capistrano was born in 1386. His education was thorough. His talents and success were great. When he was 26 he was made governor of Perugia. Imprisoned after a battle against the Malatestas, he resolved to change his way of life completely. At the age of 30 he entered the Franciscan novitiate and was ordained a priest four years later.
His preaching attracted great throngs at a time of religious apathy and confusion. He and 12 Franciscan brethren were received in the countries of central Europe as angels of God. They were instrumental in reviving a dying faith and devotion.
The Franciscan Order itself was in turmoil over the interpretation and observance of the Rule of St. Francis. Through Johns tireless efforts and his expertise in law, the heretical Fraticelli were suppressed and the "Spirituals" were freed from interference in their stricter observance.
He helped bring about a reunion with the Greek and Armenian Churches, unfortunately only a brief arrangement.
When the Turks captured Constantinople in 1453, he was commissioned to preach a crusade for the defense of Europe. Gaining little response in Bavaria and Austria, he decided to concentrate his efforts in Hungary. He led the army to Belgrade. Under the great General John Junyadi, they gained an overwhelming victory, and the siege of Belgrade was lifted. Worn out by his superhuman efforts, Capistrano was an easy prey to the infection bred by the refuse of battle. He died October 23, 1456.
BTTT on the Optional Memorial of St. John Capistrano, October 23, 2006!
John became a disciple of Saint Bernadine of Siena and a noted preacher while still a deacon, beginning his work in 1420. The world at the time was in need of strong men to work for salvation of souls. Thirty percent of the population was killed by the Black Plague, the Church was split in schism and there were several men claiming to be pope. As an Itinerant priest throughout Italy, Germany, Bohemia, Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Russia, St. John preached to tens of thousands and established communities of Franciscan renewal. He reportedly healed the sick by making the Sign of the Cross over them. He also wrote extensively, mainly against the heresies of the day.
He was successful in reconciling heretics. After the fall of Constantinople, he preached a crusade against the Muslim Turks. At age 70 he was commissioned by Pope Callistus II to lead it, and marched off at the head of 70,000 Christian soldiers. He won the great battle of Belgrade in the summer of 1456. He died in the field a few months later, but his army delivered Europe from the Moslems.
Patron: chaplains; jurists; judges; military chaplains.
Symbols: man with a crucifix and lance, treading a turban underfoot; Franciscan with cross on his breast and carrying banner of the cross; Franciscan preaching, angels with rosaries and IHS above him; Franciscan pointing to a crucifix which he holds; crucifix; IHS banner; red cross; star.
So Mission San Juan Capistrano, here in southern California — I always wondered. And he beat back the Muslims.
I love those feisty Catholic saints.
Read the last paragraph in the Catholic Culture post in the Daily Readings thread. It has the history and a virtual tour of San Juan Capistrano in southern California.
Saint John of Capistrano, priest
(1386-1456) Saint John was born in Italy. He became a lawyer before becoming a Franciscan. He preached in various countries of Eastern Europe, bringing about great revivals of the faith. He also led a section of the Christian army at the Battle of Belgrade in 1456 in order to defend Europe from the advances of the Turks.
Source: Daily Roman Missal, Edited by Rev. James Socías, Midwest Theological Forum, Chicago, Illinois ©2003
you raised up St. John of Capistrano
to give your people comfort in their trials.
May your Church enjoy unending peace
and be secure in your protection.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
First Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:14-20
For the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that One has died for all; therefore all have died. And He died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised.
From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once regarded Christ from a human point of view, we regard Him thus no longer. Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
Gospel Reading: Luke 9:57-62
As they were going along the road, a man said to Jesus, "I will follow You wherever You go." And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay His head." To another He said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." But He said to him, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." Another said, "I will follow You, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home." Jesus said to him, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.