Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen (1577-1622) was born with the name Mark Rey in what is today Germany. He studied and taught law and became known for his charity, austerities, and great devotion to God. He gained a reputation for being "the poor man’s lawyer” because of his concern for the helpless. He eventually left his profession to become a Capuchin Franciscan friar and priest, taking the religious name “Fidelis,” meaning “faithful.” His work as a friar was fraught with danger. He lived during the Counter-Reformation, a time of great religious, cultural, and political upheaval in Western Europe. He zealously defended the teaching of the Catholic Church against the Protestant heretics. He wrote many pamphlets against Calvinism and Zwinglianism, and even traveled to Switzerland to preach against the Calvinists both in the pulpits and the public square. His untiring efforts to bring souls back to the Church was so successful that he became a threat to the heretic preachers. One day his preaching provoked a mob that confronted him and demanded he renounce his Catholic faith upon pain of death. He replied, "I came to extirpate heresy, not to embrace it," after which he was bludgeoned to death. Many miracles led to his canonization in the following century. St. Fidelis' feast day is April 24.
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