St. Peregrine Day
Born 1260 at Forli, Italy
1345 at Forli, Italy of natural causes; body incorrupt
11 September 1702 by Pope Clement XI
27 December 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII
The Catholic Church celebrates the feast day of St. Peregrine,
who is widely revered among Catholics as the patron saint of cancer
patients. According to various sources, his feast day is celebrated
one of three days: April 30, May 1 or May 4.
A feast day is the day the Catholic Church officially recognizes
and commemorates the contributions of a particular saint. It originates
from the traditional of honoring the date of death of the Christian
But commemorating the life of saint on his particular feast day
is only part of the reason for these observances. When you commemorate
a feast day it should stir a spiritual note within in -- reinvigorating
your walk with God.
St. Peregrine, who began his life as Peregrine Laziosi, entered
the spiritual world in a unique way. It all began with his slapping
a papal envoy, Philip, during an uprising in his hometown of Forli,
Italy in the late 1200s.
Peregrine, a member of the antipapal political party in the city-state
of Forli, heckled Philip during a mediation process. Obviously
frustrated with the process (of which very little is known), Peregrine
slapped this representative of the Pope.
While this is not normally an action that would spark a conversion,
Philip's reaction to this totally shocked the young man. Philip
immediately offered his other cheek for Peregrine to strike as
This incident changed the young man, who spent several years
- according to some sources - doing good deeds in his area. Eventually,
he had a vision of the Virgin Mary who advised him to enter the
Servites, the religious order whose members devote their work
When he completed his initiated into the order, the priest who
heard his vows was Philip, the same individual who he had struck
and had offered his other cheek in response.
This coincidence overwhelmed him. He attempted, in penance for
his actions, to stand instead of sit and seclude himself in prayer
whenever possible. As a result, Peregrine spent the better part
of 30 years standing, which caused the formation of varicose veins
in his legs. Additionally, the friar developed cancer which formed
in his foot.
The open sores of the cancer necessitated amputation of the affected
foot. The night before the scheduled operation, Peregrine, who
was unable to walk, dragged himself to the foot of the nearest
crucifix, where he fervently prayed.
While in prayer, it's said that he fell into a trance-like state
and experienced a vision of Jesus Christ. Christ touched his foot.
When he came out of the trance, Peregrines foot was completely
His faithfulness to God - -even in the darkest times of his life-provides
us all with inspiration. The lessons of St. Peregrine, the reminders
we all need, are found in the ability to follow God even when
- especially when - we don't know where our circumstances may
Observing St. Peregrine's Feast Day
You may want to take a few moments of your spiritual life to
observe the feast day of St. Peregrine Laziosi by not only learning
more about his life, but through the offering of prayers. In addition
to those you may offer to St. Peregrine, consider reading prayers
to St. Jude, St. Raphael, the Archangel, St. Roch, St. Rita, St.
Anthony Mary Claret.
You may also want to take the time in your prayer life to offer
prayers on behalf of all individuals who are chronically ill or
facing the possibility of death through a terminal illness.
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