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St. Ignatius of Laconi, Capuchin Friar

  • Broadcast in Religion
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Rebroadcast of the long-running radio program, "The Ave Maria Hour," a presentation of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement. www.AtonementFriars.org

Francis Ignatius Vincent Peis was born in Laconi, Italy on December 17, 1701 to a poor farming family. His mother named him Francis because she attributed his safe delivery after a difficult pregnancy to the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi. In her petitions, she promised the saint that she would name her baby Francis and that he would join the Capuchins as an adult.

Since his early childhood, Francis demonstrated a capacity for hard work in the fields and a strong piety. He would often be seen in prayer and was known to wait at the church doors every morning in prayer until they were opened. Francis wanted to join the Capuchins as a teenager, but his father would not allow him to because the family depended on his labor to survive. However, on surviving a riding accident through God’s intervention at the age of 20, he decided to enter the Capuchin monastery at once, and took his vows a year later, taking his second name, Ignatius, as his religious name.

Ignatius spent his first 15 years as a Capuchin doing various menial jobs around the monastery and for the last 40 years of his life he was appointed questor, or official beggar for the monastery. He would travel around the town collecting food and donations for the friars. He was particularly well-loved by the poor and by children, and was often given alms by those who barely had anything to give. He refused them from the very poor, saying that it was better that they keep it for themselves. He tended to the sick during his daily rounds through town, and many miracles of healing were said to have occurred through his intercession.

St. Ignatius of Laconi died in 1781. He was canonized 1951 by Pope Pius XII.