Saint of the Day ~ March 5

SAINT JOHN JOSEPH OF THE CROSS (1654-1739), priest and Provincial – Patron saint of Ischia, Italy

Today, the Church honors Saint John Joseph of the Cross, a servant of the Church whose life exemplified the virtues of self-denial and selfless love and charity.

John Joseph was born on the island of Ischia in Southern Italy on August 15, 1654. Known to be very ascetic even as a young man, he devoted himself in his earliest years to a life of prayer and virtue. At the age of sixteen, he joined the Order of Saint Francis in Naples, amongst the Friars of the Alcantarine Reform.

John fasted constantly, never drank wine, and slept but three hours each night. His reputation for holiness prompted his superiors to put him in charge of establishing a new friary in Piedmont, Italy, even before he was ordained to the priesthood, and he assisted in its construction with his own hands.

Obedience moved John to accept appointments as novice master, guardian; and, finally, in 1702, he was appointed Vicar Provincial of the Alcantarine Reform in Italy. His years of mortification enabled him to offer these services to the friars with great charity. As the regional Provincial, he always insisted upon performing the lowliest offices in the Order’s community, including working in the kitchen or carrying the wood and water needed by the friars.

When his term as Provincial expired, John Joseph dedicated himself to hearing confessions and practicing personal mortification. His zeal for souls was such that, even in sickness, he would not spare any effort for their salvation. He had a great devotion to the Mother of God, and John urged his penitents to cultivate a special love for the Blessed Mother.

John Joseph died on March 5, 1739 of natural causes, and was canonized a saint in 1839 by Pope Gregory XVI. He is the patron saint of Ischia, Italy, the place where he was born.

We commemorate his feastday on March 5.

(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.com, americancatholic.org, newadvent.org and franciscan-sfo.org)

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Commons for Religious ~ abbot)

“Lord, in Your abbot, Saint John Joseph of the Cross, You give an example of the Gospel lived to perfection. Help us to follow him by keeping before us the things of Heaven amid all the changes of this world.

“Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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