St Lawrence of Brindisi
Feast Day: 21 July
Patronage: Brindisi, region in Italy
The relic of St Lawrence turned out to be a bit of a mystery. Initially thought to be St Lawrence, deacon of Rome and a little more contemporaneous with St Patrick, further investigation indicated St Lawrence of Brindisi as a likely candidate – although the connection to St Patrick is unclear.
The ‘ED’ on the relic, Ecclesiae doctoris, seems to confirm this is St Lawrence of Brindisi, Doctor of the Church.
St Lawrence of Brindisi was born on July 22, 1559, and died 60 years later on his birthday in 1619. When he was 16, he entered the Capuchin Franciscan Order in Venice and received the name of Lawrence. He completed his studies of philosophy and theology at the University of Padua and was ordained a priest at 23.
He is known for his outstanding gift of languages. In addition to a thorough knowledge of his native Italian, he had complete reading and speaking ability in Latin, Hebrew, Greek, German, Bohemian, Spanish, and French.
He was elected minister general of the Capuchins in 1602, and was responsible for great growth and geographical expansion of the Order.
Lawrence was appointed papal emissary and peacemaker, which took him to a number of foreign countries. An effort to achieve peace in his native kingdom of Naples took him to Lisbon to visit the king of Spain. Serious illness in Lisbon took his life in 1619.