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Saint Lawrence of Brindisi

Saint Lawrence of Brindisi
  • Century: 16th & 17th Century
  • Patronage: Brindisi, Italy
  • Feast Day: July 21st

St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Italy was born Giulio Cesare Russo in 1559.  He was born to a family of merchants, and was educated at St. Mark’s College in Venice.  He joined the Capuchins in Verona as Brother Lawrence, as a member of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. 

St. Lawrence was an accomplished linguist, and he spoke most European and Semitic languages fluently.  Because of his humility and knowledge of the faith, he was appointed Definitor General to Rome for the Capuchins in 1596.  Pope Clement VIII assigned him the task of converting the Jews in the city.   St. Lawrence established Capuchin Monasteries in modern Germany and Austria, furthering the counter-reformation and brought many Protestants back to the Catholic Faith. 

He served as the imperial chaplain for the army of Rudolph II, Holy Roman Emperor and successfully recruited the Duke of Mercoeur to help fight against the Ottoman Turks.  He did all this battle with only a Crucifix.  There after, he was elected Vicar General of the Capuchin Friars, the highest office in the Order. 

After one term he entered into the Holy See, becoming Papal Nuncio to Bavaria.  After serving as a special envoy to the King of Spain, he retired to a Monastery.  He was recalled as a special envoy to the King of Spain, regarding the actions of the Viceroy of Naples, and after finishing his mission, he died on his birthday in Lisbon.  He was beatified in 1783 by Pope Pius VI, Canonized in 1881 by Pope Leo XIII, and declared a “Doctor of the Church” by Pope John XXIII in 1959.  His Feast Day is always July 21st, in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms. 

Practical Take Away

St. Lawrence studied hard to learn the faith, and in the process had a conversion to the faith.  He acted upon that conversion and became a servant of the Church.  He knew that the only way he could find happiness and peace was to use the gifts that God gave him, and bring the faith to a people in need. His gift in practice, brought many back to the faith who had previously left for Protestantism.  We can do well for ourselves to follow the example of this good Saint, and Doctor of the Church and wisely use our gifts, whatever they may be.