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St. John of Sahagun or of St-Fagondez

Name: St. John of Sahagun or of St-Fagondez
Date: 12 June

Saint John, one of the greatest preachers Spain has ever known, was born at St. Fagondez, andfrom his early youth gave signs of his future sanctity. He was the fruit of the ardent prayers of hisparents after sixteen years of sterility; God blessed them afterwards with several children. He wasentrusted to the Benedictines of the monastery of St. Fagondez for his education. He distributedto the poor virtually all the wealth accruing to him from several benefices, while he himself livedin great poverty; but soon he renounced all of these and obtained from his bishop permission tostudy theology in Salamanca. As a young priest he was already regarded as a Saint, so ardent washis devotion at Holy Mass. He entered the Order of Saint Augustine soon after he had bestowedon a poor man half of his clothing, and the following night experienced so great an increase in thelove of God, that he referred to this as his conversion.

He was a model religious, and soon was entrusted with important offices in his Order — masterof novices, definitor for the province, and prior of the convent of the city of Salamanca. Hecommanded well because he knew so well how to obey. When he observed in himself a slightdefect in his obedience, he repaired it with extraordinary penances. Often while offering theadorable Sacrifice with tender piety, he enjoyed the sight of Jesus in glory, and held sweetcolloquies with Him. The ineffable bliss of these moments caused him to spend much more timethan the other priests in celebrating Holy Mass; and everyone was complaining. It was only whenhis Superior forbid him to delay in this way that he was obliged to acknowledge the favors heenjoyed.

The power of his personal holiness was seen in his preaching, which produced a completereformation of morals in Salamanca. He had a special gift for reconciling differences, and wasable to put an end to the quarrels and feuds among noblemen, at that period very common andfatal. The boldness shown by Saint John in reproving vice endangered his life. A powerfulnobleman, having been corrected by the Saint for oppressing his vassals, sent two assassins to slayhim; but the remarkable holiness of the Saint’s aspect, result of the peace constantly reigning inhis soul, struck such awe into their minds that they could not execute their purpose, and humblybegged his forgiveness. The nobleman himself, falling sick, was brought to repentance, andrecovered his health by the prayers of the Saint whom he had endeavored to murder.

Saint John was also very zealous in denouncing the vices of impurity, and it was in defense of holypurity that he met his death. A lady of noble birth but evil life, whose companion in sin he hadconverted, contrived to administer a fatal poison to the Saint. After several months of terriblesuffering, borne with unvarying patience, Saint John went to his reward on June 11, 1479. Thispainful death and the cause for which he suffered it, have caused several of his historians andpanegyrists to say that he won a martyr’s crown. A great many striking miracles followed at histomb and elsewhere, even by the simple invocation of his name. He was canonized in 1690 byPope Alexander VIII.

Sources: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 6; Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of

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