Thursday, October 22, 2009

St. Peter of Alcantara

Born of noble parents at Alcantara in Spain in 1499, Peter entered the Order of Friars Minor when he was sixteen. He showed himself a model of all virtues, especially poverty and chastity, and brought numberless men from vice to repentance by preaching the word of God. Eager to restore the original observance of St. Francis of Assisi, he built a very small and very poor monastery near Pedroso. The way of life there was of the strictest, and from this auspicious beginning it spread in a remarkable way. He was a help to St. Teresa of Avila in promoting the Carmelite reform, having approved the spirit in which she had begun it. Teresa often referred to him as a saint even while he was still living; and we learn from her that he was famous for the grace of contemplation and miracles, and was imbued with the gift of Prophecy and of the discernment of spirits. Finally he went to heaven in his sixty-third year, and blessed Teresa saw him in a vision, shining with wonderful glory. (courtesy of

Perhaps the most remarkable of Peter's graces were his gift of contemplation and the virtue of penance. Hardly less remarkable was his love of God, which was at times so ardent as to cause him, as it did St. Philip Neri, sensible pain, and frequently rapt him into ecstasy. The poverty he practised and enforced was as cheerful as it was real, and often let the want of even the necessaries of life be felt. In confirmation of his virtues and mission of reformation God worked numerous miracle through his intercession and by his very presence. He was beatified by GregoryXV in 1622, and canonized by Clement IX in 1669. Besides the Constitutions of the Stricter Observants and many letters on spiritual subjects, especially to St. Teresa, he composed a short treatise on prayer, which has been translated into all the languages of Europe
.(courtesy of catholic

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