St. John of Capistrano

Friends in Christ, today is the feast of St. John of Capistrano. St. John was born in 1386, he was destined to become one of the great lights of the Franciscan Order.
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From early on he was very intelligent; he studied law, and was appointed governor of Perugia in Italy, and he married the daughter of a leading citizen. When war broke out between Perugia and another city, St. John tried to negotiate peace, however he himself became a prisoner of war.
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There in prison, as if that were not trouble enough, he received news that his wife had died. It was during this time that John really began to think about his life: ‘Had he really been living for Christ?’ He thought of how his many sins had not brought glory to God, he resolved to change his life.
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Released from prison, he rode through Perugia on a donkey with his face to the tail, and with a huge paper hat on his head on which were written all of his worst sins. He was pelted by the children and humiliated; dirty and humbled, he presented himself to the Franciscans asking entry into their Order. After a difficult novitiate, he was a Franciscan. St. John had great admiration for Bernadine of Siena, the great preacher at that time; in the same way, this gifted preacher St. John went all about Italy seeking the salvation of souls.
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The world at that time was in a dark state. 30% of the population had been killed by the Bubonic Plague; if we think Ebola is bad, just think: 30% of the population had died. Also, the Church was split in schism.
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Yet here came this apostle of hope; wherever he went, St. John drew thousands of listeners. He actually preached in Latin, which was then translated to the people by an interpreter. Those who saw him described him as a small man, emaciated from fasting, nothing but skin and bones, but cheerful and strong. He slept in his habit, rose before dawn, prayed his Breviary and then offered Holy Mass. Then he preached.
Wherever he went, he made the rounds through the sick who waited for him to lay his hands upon each. They were often healed by his making the Sign of the Cross.
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St. John of Capistrano is often portrayed holding a cross, he is the patron saint of Judges and Chaplains.

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