Today, October 23rd, the universal Church celebrates the Feast Day of St. John Capistrano.
John lived in a most tumultuous time. People were suffering from the Bubonic plague, with one-third of the population dying from this horrible disease. One can only imagine the deplorable atmosphere and the fear involved. Additionally, England and France were at war and the Western Schism had split the Catholic Church with two or more individuals claiming the Holy See.
He received a superb education and had many talents, including preaching and negotiating. At the age of 26, he was proclaimed Governor of Perugia. Whilst he was in prison after a battle against the Malatestas, he went through a process of conversion and decided to reform his life. Accordingly, he became a Franciscan novitiate at the age of 30, then ordained as a Catholic priest four years later.
John and 12 Franciscans were welcomed into central Europe, as they preached so wonderfully, giving the people hope and stability during a time of great confusion and difficulty.
The Turks captured Constantinople in 1453, wherein John was appointed to preach one of the Crusades during this time to defend Europe. He concentrated his noble work in Hungary, leading the army to Belgrade, wherein under General John Hunyadi, they were victorious. After this battle, he suffered from an infection and died on October 23, 1456.
An entity in Brussels named their organization after John. Their motto patterned John’s holy qualities, to-wit: “Initiative, Organization, Activity.” John was never lazy and worked very hard in his life to bring Our Lord to people and to fight for his Faith and for the right.
He was buried in Villach, wherein the Governor of that place had this inscribed upon his tombstone:
“This tomb holds John, by birth of Capistrano, a man worthy of praise, defender and promoter of the Faith, guardian of the Church, zealous protector of his Order, an ornament to all the world, lover of truth and religious justice, mirror of life, surest guide in doctrine, praised by countless tongues, he reigns blessed in heaven.”
Dear St. John, please help us to be bold, courageous and effective today, as we shine our Light for the Lord. Help us to bring faith, hope and love to everyone we encounter, not being afraid to speak and live the Truth just as you did.
St. John, please pray for us!