- John Columbini
Wealthy, greedy, ambitious, and ill-tempered son of a patrician family. Married layman, and father of two children, his son Peter and daughter Angela. First magistrate (Gonfalionere) of Siena, Italy. With his family and friends, he alternated between bouts of anger and consequent periods of mortification and self-loathing. Converted to the faith while reading the story of the conversion of Saint Mary of Egypt. Reformed his personal and business life; visited hospitals, tended the sick, gave to the poor, personally tending to the poorest and most forgotten in his society.
Several years into his new life, John’s son died, and his daughter became a nun. He established an annuity that allowed his wife to live in comfort, and used the rest of his wealth to endow a hospital and two convents. From then on he lived in poverty, begging for his bread from day to day. He soon attracted followers, many of them young men from wealthy families who were disillusioned with their lives, and felt a call to God and a call to give away their wealth. The patrician class demanded John’s exile as he was leading the city’s most promising young men to “folly.”
Founded a small group of laymen, called the Jesuati (Gesuati or Jesuats) after their habit of saying “Praise be to Jesus Christ” about everything. They were devoted to penance and charity, and had a special devotion to Saint Jerome. The group received approval by Pope Urban V in 1367, just 37 days before John’s death. It survived until 1668 when, because of abuses that had crept in over the years, it was suppressed by Pope Clement IX. A sister organization, the Jesuatesses or Sisters of the Visitation of Mary was founded around 1367 by John’s cousin, Blessed Catharine Colombini; it survived until 1872 when it disappeared due to attrition.
- barefooted man wearing a white habit, a beard, a dark leather belt, and with the letters IHS on his chest
- man caring for the sick
- man grinding riches beneath his feet
- “Blessed John Colombini“. CatholicSaints.Info. 31 July 2013. Web. 30 March 2015. <>