Saint of the Day ~ April 19

BLESSED JAMES OLDO (1364-1404), priest

We have all heard “rags-to-riches” stories. Today, we commemorate the reverse in the person of Blessed James Oldo.

James was born in 1364 into a well-to-do family in a town called Lodi near Milan, Italy. He married a woman who, like him, appreciated the comforts that came with wealth. But an outbreak of the plague drove James, his wife and their three children out of their home and into the countryside.

Despite the precautions he and his wife took, two of their daughters died from the plague. As a result, James’ life changed, and he became determined to use whatever time he had left to build up treasures in Heaven, and to help build God’s Kingdom on Earth in whatever way the Spirit guided him!

James gave up his old lifestyle and did penance for his sins, whereupon both he and his wife became Secular Franciscans. He learned Latin from a sick priest for whom he was caring. Once again, the plague touched his family and his wife succumbed to the terrible disease. Upon her death, James studied and was ordained a priest. His house was transformed into a chapel where small groups of people, many of them fellow Secular Franciscans, came for prayer and support.

Father James spent the remainder of his life caring for the sick and for prisoners-of-war. He became renowned for his personal acts of penance, and his preaching inspired many to enter the religious life. He died in the year 1404, being only forty years of age, after contracting a disease from one of his patients.

In 1933, Father James Oldo was beatified by Pope Pius XI.

We commemorate his feastday on April 19.

(From,, and



(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Commons for Pastors ~ pastor)

“Lord God, You gave Your Blessed James the Spirit of Truth and Love to shepherd Your people. May we honor him on this feast, learn from his example and be helped by his prayers.

“We ask 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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