Heaven’s Bright Queen – Apparition to Saint Cajetan, Founder of the Theatins, Lombardy, Italy, 1517

[Saint Cajetan]Article

Saint Cajetan was born at Vicenza in 1480, and was dedicated from infancy to the Blessed Mother of God. After having made legal studies with great distinction at Padua, he was appointed Prothonotary Apostolic at the Roman Curia. But he gave all the time he could spare to the wrork of pious fraternities, spending his fortune in building hospitals and devoting himself in person to the nursing of the plague-stricken. Finally, his zeal for souls led him to resign his office and enter the priesthood. In 1524, in conjunction with Bishop Caraffa, who was afterwards Pope, he founded the first congregation of regular clerks, which took its name from Chieti, or Theate, the See over which his co-laborer had presided.

“They embraced a more than Franciscan poverty,” says Mr. Arnold, “for they bound themselves not only to have no property or rents, but to abstain from asking for alms, being persuaded that the providence of God and the unsolicited charity of the faithful would sufficiently supply their wants.”

The Theatins devoted themselves to preaching the administration of the sacraments, and the careful performance of the rites and ceremonies of the Church. They have produced many eminent, men, including Cardinal Thomassi and Father Ventura, The holy brotherhood lived in Rome on Mount Pincio, and the year after settling there, the Constable of Bourbon, commander of the army of Charles V., marched from Milan to Rome, and took the city in May, 1527. Philibert of Chalons, Prince of Orange, who succeeded in command after the wicked Constable had been slain, plundered the city, and was guilty of great cruelties. The house of the Theatins shared the fate of the rest, and Saint Cajetan being recognized, and imagined to be possessed of great wealth, was barbarously scourged and tortured to extort from him his supposed treasure.

The mystery of the Nativity was his special subject of contemplation, in which the eternal love of God for man was made so wonderfully manifest. It was in the year 1517, when, according to his custom, Cajetan was rapt in ecstasy before the altar of the Crib on Christmas eve. Tears flowed down his cheeks, so deeply was he moved by the mystery of the birth of the Lord, whom he pictured to himself as a little helpless Child lying in the arms of His Mother. Then arose in his heart the great desire to entreat the venerable Mother of God that she would lay the Divine Child in his arms, but his humility permitted him not. Whilst, however, his heart longed for this favor, behold! there appeared to him Saint Jerome and Saint Joseph, who desired him to hold out his arms and approach them to the Divine Mother. He did so, and the Queen of Angels truly laid the Child Jesus in his arms. The happiness which entered into his heart, passes description. The impression which this vision left behind never departed from the holy man during the course of his life, but so often as he received the Body and Blood of the Lord in Holy Communion he paused a little, believing that Mary herself was there offering him, under the form of the most Holy Sacrament, her Divine Child to caress.

Saint Cajetan was the first to introduce the custom of the Forty Hours Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as a means of counter-acting the heresy of Calvin, who propagated a fearful disrespect for the Eucharistic Presence of our Lord.

He always cherished a tender devotion to the Blessed Virgin and when, writes Father Bowden:

“He was on his death-bed, resigned to the Will of God, eager for pain to satisfy his love, and for death to attain to life, he beheld the Mother of God, radiant with splendor, and surrounded by the ministering seraphim. In profound veneration, he said: ‘Lady, bless me!’ Mary replied: ‘Cajetan, receive the blessing of my Son, and know that I am here as a reward for the sincerity of your love, and to lead you to Paradise.’ She then exhorted him to patience in fighting an evil spirit who troubled him, and gave orders to the choirs of angels to escort his soul in triumph to Heaven. Then turning her countenance full of majesty and sweetness upon him, she said: ‘Cajetan, my Son calls thee. Let us go in peace.'”

When his hour of death came, his physicians told him not to lie on the floor, but he replied, “My Saviour died upon the Cross; suffer me to die upon ashes.” Thus died Saint Cajetan on 7 August 1547.

MLA Citation

  • William J Walsh. “Apparition to Saint Cajetan, Founder of the Theatins, Lombardy, Italy, 1517”. The Apparitions and Shrines of Heaven’s Bright Queen, 1905. CatholicSaints.Info. 1 August 2014. Web. 13 July 2020. <>