Saints and Saintly Dominicans – 31 January

Saint Peter NolascoSaint Peter Nolasco

This saint was born in Languedoc, at Mas-Saintes Puelles, a village so named because, during the times of persecution, three young girls took refuge there and evidently attained to a high degree of sanctity. Providence, which accomplishes its designs by the most unexpected means, led him into Spain, charged by his friend Simon de Montfort with the education of the son of Peter of Aragon, after the defeat and death of the latter at Muret. Peter Nolasco was cut to the heart by the ravages of the Albigensian heresy and hastened to get away from it. In Patalonia, inspired by the Blessed Virgin, together with Saint Raymund Pennafort, third Master General, O.P., and the King of Aragon, he instituted the Order of Mercy, in which a fourth vow bound the members, when necessary, to offer themselves as prisoners for the release of Christians captured by the Mahomedans. Saint Dominic in one of his journeys held friendly intercourse with Peter Nolasco, who also had the privilege of often hearing his angel guardian drawing him to heavenly things. He died in saying the words of Psalm 110: “The Lord hath sent redemption unto His people.” He is represented carried to the choir by angels, in allusion to his eagerness for the Divine Office, even when enfeebled by age. His efforts to celebrate Holy Mass at midnight on Christmas Eve exhausted his strength and hastened his happy death (1256).

Prayer

O Lord, Thou hast said, “He that commits sin is the slave of sin”; preserve me from this slavery worse than death.

Practice

Be filled with the sentiments of Saint Catherine of Sienna, who called herself in her letters “the servant and slave of the servants of Jesus Christ.”