Saint Pacific of San Severino
(San Pacifico di San Severino)
Feast Day – September 24
Saint Pacific of San Severino was born of a distinguished family in the Italian city of San Severino. As a child he evinced unusual seriousness, great piety, and love of mortification.
Early in his youthful life this spirit of mortification was put to the test. He was quite young when he became an orphan, and was taken to the home of his uncle, who brought him up very strictly. Two servants in his uncle’s home could not bear the sight of the boy and caused him many unpleasant experiences. If anything went wrong in the house, even if they were to blame for it, they accused the boy; and his uncle would then punish him severely for it. Pacific accepted the punishment in the spirit of mortification, bore it with remarkable patience, and so advanced in virtue.
Our Lord saw to it that his virtue was made manifest. One day a servant knocked the spigot of a wine barrel loose and all the wine ran out into the cellar. She blamed Pacific for it. His uncle took the boy down into the cellar with him to show him what he had done and to give him the punishment he deserved. The boy went along calmly. When they reached the cellar, they found the floor quite dry and the barrel full of wine. The maid was called, and when she saw the miracle, she admitted her fault and praised the holiness of the innocent boy.
When he was seventeen years old, Pacific entered the Order of Friars Minor. After the year of probation, he made his vows, and from that time took great pains to observe them perfectly. He was ordained to the priesthood when he was twenty-five years old. He was first assigned to the surrounding villages of the Apennines, where he found the greatest delight in preaching the Gospel to the poor and the uneducated. No road was too rough, no mountain too steep for him. He looked up the poor shepherds in their out-of-the-way huts in order to instruct and guide them on the road that leads to God.
Saint Pacific of San Severino was not long to enjoy this apostolic work. After a few years, he became ill and never completely recovered his health, so that he was obliged to serve God patiently with an infirm body for more than thirty years.
Pacific was completely satisfied with God’s designs in his regard. “God wills it,” he said in a cheerful way, “and so may His will be done.”
The painful suffering he had to endure, and the many acts of mortification he performed in addition, he joined to his unceasing prayers and offered them up for the salvation of souls and the conversion of sinners. Even in his sickness he was so modest that he would never allow anyone else to dress the ugly sores on his legs, but always took care of them himself.
When he was able to say holy Mass, Saint Pacific did it with the utmost fervor and devotion. In his later years he was often favored with ecstasies after the elevation at holy Mass. His countenance shone with a radiance like that of the sun. The sick were miraculously cured by him, and he foretold many future events.
When death finally summoned him and he had received Holy Communion for the last time with admirable devotion, he once more expressed his gratitude to God for all His benefits, and then, with his hands crossed upon his breast, surrendered his soul to his Creator. The day was September 24, 1721.
Many miracles occurred at his grave, and two dead persons were restored to life after his holy relics were applied to them. He was buried in a common grave used by his deceased brothers in the community, but his body was found incorrupt after four years, even though he was given no coffin.
When the body was moved, the head of the saint was accidently struck so hard against a stairway that the head of the corpse detached from the body. Blood flowed freely from the neck, splattering blood as if the body were still alive. The blood was sopped up with a shirt and kept as a relic.
Pope Gregory XVI cononized Saint Pacific in 1839.
from The Franciscan Book of Saints, edited by Marion Habig, OFM
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