Franciscan Saints


 

 

 

 11th April

 

 

The Servants of God Nicholas of Montecorvino and companions

 

Martyrs, First and Third Orders

 

To our Seraphic Father St. Francis, that ardent lover and faithful imitator of the crucified, the holy places in Jerusalem were forever precious; as they have always been dear to his sons. In 1342 the Pope gave the Franciscans the guardianship of the holy places and up until now they continue to carry out their duties as guardian from the convent on Mount Zion.

During holy Week in the year of 1358 a man named Thomas, who was a Hungarian nobleman came to Mount Zion. Thomas had attained extraordinary rank as a soldier in the army of the Turkish sultan in Cairo in Egypt and as such was a favourite of his. To please this prince Thomas had renounced Christianity and become a Muslim, causing great scandal to the Christians in Cairo; yet in his heart Thomas retained his devotion to Christ and had come to Jerusalem to venerate the holy places.

While at the holy places Thomas’ heart was touched by grace and bewailing his ‘unfortunate’ denial of his Divine saviour he wished to make full restitution of his soul to Christ. Taking several witnesses with his, Thomas went to the Franciscan convent on mount Zion to ask the learned Father Nicholas of Montecorvino what he should do to make amends. Fr. Nicholas told him that since he had publicly renounced his faith he must therefore make a public confession of his reconversion to Christ and by that remove the scandal caused to the Christians in Cairo.

Thomas was more than ready to sacrifice his life for the Faith and quite expectedly was afraid that if he acknowledged his Faith to the sultan the latter would bring about his ‘downfall’. Fr. Nicholas with Fr. Francis of Naples and the Tertiary, Peter of Rome decided to accompany Thomas to Cairo to support him in his confession of the Catholic Faith to the sultan.

In the presence of the sultan, with his three companions to support him, Thomas revoked his apostasy and solemnly professed his belief in Christ. The sultan listened patiently to him and then upbraided his companions for inducing his favourite to renounce Islam at this Fr. Nicolas unleashed his passion for Christ and loudly gave witness to the Faith.

Fr. Nicholas, “filled with zeal for Christ, declared that there was no salvation without him, and that the teachings of Mohammed were but lies and deception.” The sultan imprisoned his companions into a foul prison but confined Thomas separately.

Two days later all four were again led into the sultan’s presence and when they steadfastly adhered to the catholic Faith they were cut to ribbons by the bailiffs. “The Christians rejoiced greatly at the reconversion of Thomas, and their own faith was renewed and came to gather up the relics of the martyrs. They noticed a heavenly light around the remains and buried them with the highest respect.

 

 

 

 

Prayer of the Church

(Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost)

 

Keep, we pray, O Lord, Thy Church with Thy perpetual Favor;

and since mortal man must surely fall unless Thou uphold him,

keep us by Thy help from all hurtful things, and lead us to those

that profit us to salvation.

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

 

 

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

 

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Last edited 13/09/2017 15:53 
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