Franciscan Saints




 

 


 

25th January

The Servant of God John Bentivenga

Confessor, Third Order

We have no records of when John lived and died though consensus indicates that it was before 1562 there are, however the records of several Franciscan historians attesting to his ‘very saintly life’.

It is said that he was born in Sicily and very early in life adopted the penitential way, and when others began to think of him as a saint he tried to withdraw from public notice. God inspired John to embrace the life of a hermit and so he went to a mountain near Catanea joining other hermits living according to the Rule of St. Francis of Assisi.

Being sufficiently educated the Provincial who guided these hermits in obedience and spiritual direction ordained John a priest in order for him to say daily mass for the hermits on the mountain; after which John would spend some hours in his hermitage in prayer and meditation.

John was gentle and affable with everybody and many came to seek his advice and to be consoled by him. He had the gift of setting fearful souls at ease. A priest troubled by ‘scruples’ often came to him for guidance. It is said that one day this priest resolved not to administer the sacrament of penance because he was afraid that one day God might require him to give an account of other people’s sins. Calmly showing the priest the correct attitude regarding the administration of and the  meaning of the sacrament of penance the priest then went away to devote himself to the care of souls.

John did not neglect his own spiritual welfare either and lived in continuous remembrance of the Four Last Things ---- death, judgment, hell and heaven. John became ill when he was about seventy years old and recognising that he was about to die he received the last rites, one of the hermits surrounding his couch said to him that he was fortunate in that he was about to receive his heavenly reward. John replied that no one knew that and that even now at the hour of his death he was still uncertain…

 

Regarding the Four Last Things: Excerpt from the work of Father Martin von Cochem O.S.F.C.

“It is related of Brother Giles that one day, when he was praying in his cell, the devil appeared to him in so frightful a shape that the Brother lost the power of speech, and thou
ght his last hour had come. As his lips could not utter a sound, he raised his heart in humble supplication to God, and the apparition vanished. Afterwards, when relating what had befallen him to his brother-monks, he trembled from head to foot as he described the hideous aspect of -the adversary of mankind. Then going to St. Francis, he asked him this question: "Father, have you ever seen anything in this world the sight of which was so horrible that it was enough to kill one to behold it?" And the Saint replied: "I have indeed seen such a thing; it is none other than the devil, whose aspect is so loathsome that no one could gaze upon it even for a short time and live, unless God specially enabled him to do so."

 

 

Prayer of the church

Almighty and eternal God, the comfort of the afflicted, and

strength of those that labour and are burdened, let the prayers of

those who call upon Thee in tribulation be heard by The, that all

may with joy find the assistance of Thy mercy in their necessities.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever. Amen

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

Four Last Things: HOLY REDEEMER LIBRARY Nihil Obstat: Thomas L. Kinkead, Censor Liborium
Imprimatur: Michael Augustine --- Archbishop of New York (New York October 5, 1899) Copyright, 1899, by Benziger Brothers

 

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