Saint Vincent Ferrer

St. Vincent Ferrer (1350-1419) was born in Valentia, Spain, the son of a knight. From his parents he learned virtue and generosity to the poor. As a child he fasted every Wednesday and Friday and was tenderly devoted to the Passion of Christ and the Blessed Mother. He excelled in his studies and joined the Dominican Order with the support of his parents. He flourished in both austerity and scholarship, and became famous for performing more miracles than any other saint. His miracle-working powers began in the womb with the healing of a blind woman who touched his mother's pregnant belly. He began a preaching career across Europe that continued for twenty years. He was followed by a train of priests, nuns, penitents, and pilgrims that numbered in the thousands. When he arrived in a village his retinue would set up camp, and St. Vincent would preach to great crowds on the subjects of sin, death, heaven, and hell. He would also celebrate Mass and hear confessions daily. He slept on the floor and maintained a perpetual fast. Twice a day the "Bell of Miracles" was rung when all the sick and infirm were brought to him for cures; it was not unusual for him to perform one hundred miracles in a day. He also made scores of converts among the Muslims and Jews. St. Vincent believed that he was a special messenger of penance sent by God to prepare men for the final judgment; at that time the Black Death was ravaging across Europe killing millions, and the Great Schism was rending the Church in two. Through him multitudes were brought to penance and conversion. St. Vincent Ferrer's feast day is April 5th.
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