Short Lives of the Saints – Saint John of Matha, Confessor

Saint John of MathaEntry

Saint John de Matha was born in Provence, of devout parents, about the middle of the twelfth century, and was carefully trained in piety. He studied at Aix, and subsequently at Paris, devoting all his leisure time to works of mercy to the poor and afflicted. He was finally ordained priest, and on the day of his first Mass he conceived the project of founding a religious Order devoted to the redemption of captives. The Christians captured by pirates, and in bondage among the Mussulmans in Spain and Africa were subjected to outrageous abuse, and in danger of losing their faith. The new Order was called the Trinitarians, and Saint John de Matha led himself the first expedition for the ransoming of the Christian slaves. Worn out with his great labors in the sublime cause, he died in 1213.

O brave young Christian herald! from afar
Comes thy bright story as a guiding star;
Neglectful centuries could not hide thy fame
Nor dim the lustre of thy glorious name.
    – Father Patrick Cronin

Favorite Practice – To visit and console poor prisoners.

MLA Citation

  • Eleanor Cecilia Donnelly. “Saint John of Matha, Confessor”. Short Lives of the Saints, 1910. CatholicSaints.Info. 2 April 2021. Web. 18 April 2021. <>