Franciscan Saints


 

 

 

1st August

 

 

The Servant of God John of Piano Di Carpine

 

Confessor, First Order

 

Born at Piano di Carpine, now called La Magione, a town which lies between Lake Trasimene and Perugia, John became one of the early disciples of the Poverello. He was about the same age as St. Francis.

In the year 1221 St. Francis instructed Caesar of Speyer to choose some of the brethren as associates to accompany him on the mission to Germany. Among the first of these, Caesar chose John of Piano di Carpine, whose zeal for the missions and knowledge of various languages made him particularly qualified for this work. He was sent on ahead with a companion to Trent, Wuerzburg, Worms, Speyer, and Cologne. His words and especially his conduct won all hearts and thus prepared a kind reception for his confreres. When the appointments for the provinces and the various offices were made, John was sent as custos to Saxony, where he laid the foundations of the Saxon province. Later he was elected provincial of Germany, and as such provided for the expansion of the order in Austria, Bohemia, Alsace, Lorraine, and as far as Denmark and Norway.

After the canonization of St. Francis in the year 1228, it was he who immediately and with great solemnity introduced devotion to the saint in Germany. Spain also testifies to his solicitude in imitating the holiness of his spiritual Father. He was sent there in 1230 as provincial and successor of the servant of God ]ohn Parenti, and although his predecessor had also been a very holy man, the annals of the order state that the people marveled at the extraordinary holiness of this second John. In 1233 he returned to Germany and served as provincial of Saxony until 1239.

The fame of his outstanding virtues and abilities induced Pope Innocent IV to send him in 1245 as his envoy to the Great Khan of the Mongols, in order to check the wild hordes from invading the eastern European nations. No efforts were too great for ]ohn when they were expended in the interests of Cod or of his neighbor, and so he cheerfully carried out the onerous mission imposed upon him by the Vicar of Christ. He was the Hrst to travel from Europe across Asia to the Far East, and he brought back valuable information about the countries and peoples he visited. The pope was so relieved at John’s return in 1247, and at the success of his journey, that he said to him: “Blessed be you by Cod and by me His Vicar on earth, for in you the words of Holy Writ are fulfilled: As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to him who sent him, for he refreshes his soul" (Prov. 25,13); and he appointed him archbishop of Antivari in Dalmatia. But the time was not far away when he was to receive the reward of a true servant of Cod. It was in the year 1252, about five years after his return from Tatary, that he died at the age of about seventy years. (Cf. In Journeyings Often, pp. 8—35.)

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer of the Church

 

In Thy clemency, O Lord, show unto us Thine unspeakable

mercy, that Thou mayest both loose us of all our sins and deliver

us from the punishments which we deserve for them.

Through the same Christ 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

Habig Marion, A., O.F.M., 1953, In journeyings often Franciscan pioneers in the Orient, Franciscan Institute, St. Bonaventure University

 

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