Saturday, 21 July 2007

The Doctor of Brindisi

St Lawrence of Brindisi (1559-1619), whose feast it is today, is perhaps the least well-known Doctor of the Church. In fact, unless you're from the Italian town of Brindisi, he isn't exactly an household name.

If he hadn’t joined the Capuchins and taken the name of Lawrence, we would know him by his rather striking baptismal name – Giulio Cesare (Julius Caesar). It would be rather good to have a St Julius Caesar. As a friar, he was known for his linguistic ability (he is said to have known the whole Bible by heart – in its original languages of Hebrew and Greek) and for his apostolate as a preacher. In fact, 804 of his sermons have survived, and these include those preached during the war against the Turks, who were attacking Hungary. At the battle of Stulweissenburg in 1601, he led the Christian army into the fray with no other weapon than a large crucifix. He was also a noted theologian (helped by his linguistic skill), with a particular penchant for Mariology, and held many important positions in his Order.
St Lawrence of Brindisi, pray for us!



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