Franciscan Saints


 

 

 

11th May

 

 

Blessed James of Bitecto

 

Confessor, First Order

 

“His festival occurs on the 20th in the Martyrology published by Pope Benedict XIV. for the use of his Order. His body remains uncorrupted at Bitecto; and an account of many miracles wrought through his intercession is collected from authentic vouchers by Papebroke, (in April, t. 3, p. 527.)”

 

 

The annals of the Franciscan Order contain records of many servants of God who arrived at a high degree of holiness in seclusion and marked simplicity. They are the loveliest blossoms in the Franciscan garden, and attractive examples for simple souls who seek nothing but God alone. Such a model is Blessed James of Bitecto. Born in Illyria, which was later called Dalmatia, he entered the Franciscan convent in his native place as a lay brother.

 

Soon he distinguished himself in all virtues as a model religious. This prompted the Father Provincial to choose him as his companion when he travelled to Italy for the general chapter of the order. Separated from his native place, his relatives and acquaintances, James felt more closely united to God, for which reason, with the consent of his superiors, he remained in Italy from that time on.

 

He was sent in turn to different convents, so that his example might animate the brothers to seek perfection. Nothing, however, was further removed from the mind of James than to consider himself an example to others. He was filled with humility and contempt for himself, loved silence, was punctual in obedience, and performed his duties with care. But while his hands were busy at work, his mind was occupied with God.

 

In the convent at Conversano, where he was cook, he would fall into rapture at the sight of the fire. He thought at such times of the fire of hell, and adored the strict justice of God, while he found himself mightily urged on to acts of penance and to the love of God, who sent His own Son into this world to save us from hell.

 

The Divine Spirit who filled his soul at such times did not permit his work to suffer on that account. In the convent garden at Cassano there was a grotto with an image of the Mother of God. To it James at times withdrew in the evening, and there he scourged himself until he bled, and remained all night absorbed in devotion to the Mother of Mercy. God almighty favored him with the gifts of miracles and of prophecy.

The closing years of his life Blessed James of Bitecto spent in the convent of Bitecto, from which he received his surname. There he died a holy death on April 27, 1485. His grave is held in great veneration. A hundred years after his death his body was found still incorrupt. Pope Innocent XII approved the uninterrupted devotion paid to him.

 

“His festival occurs on the 20th in the Martyrology published by Pope Benedict XIV. for the use of his Order. His body remains uncorrupted at Bitecto; and an account of many miracles wrought through his intercession is collected from authentic vouchers by Papebroke, (in April, t. 3, p. 527.)”

 

 

Prayer of the Church

 

We beseech Thee, Almighty God, grant us, who are devoutly

celebrating the memory of the glorious merits of Blessed James,

Thy confessor, that while on earth we may zealously imitate his

virtues, and in heaven acquire with him the crown of glory.

Through  Our Lord Who liveth  and reigneth
with
Thee and the Holy Spirit,  One God, now and forever.  Amen

 

 

Habig, Marion A., O.F.M., 1959, ed., The Franciscan book of Saints, Franciscan Herald press, Chicago, Illinois

Butler, Alban, Rev. ,1866, The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints. Dublin: James Duffy, on  Bartleby.com, Modified 2010, Accessed 5 April 2013,<web:www.bartleby.com/>

 

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