Blessed Amadeus Menez
(Bem-aventurados Amadeus Menez)
Confessor, First Order
When noble sentiments are joined to nobility of birth, virtue shines forth the more brightly. That was the case with the servant of God Amadeus. He was a descendant of one of the noblest Portuguese families, one that was related to the royal household. Blessed Beatrice, the founder of the Poor Clares of the Immaculate Conception, was his sister.
Filled with a holy zeal for Christ, the young knight Amadeaus marched against the Mohammedans, who were at that time still occupying the southern part of Spain and Portugal. He was seriously wounded during a battle; and because his arm became paralyzed, he was forced to withdraw from the bloody conflict carried on against the enemies of Christ.
He now joined the ranks of the spiritual army of St Francis, the Third Order, to do battle against the enemies of Christ in his own heart, against thirst for honor, covetousness, and sensuality. In his retirement from the world he arrived at a high degree of perfection in humility, mortification, and purity of heart. He cherished a special devotion to Our Blessed Lady; and after a short time felt impelled like his great fellow countryman St Anthony of Padua, to go to Italy to join the Franciscan Order.
Blessed Amadeus Menez followed this impulse generously, left all, and joined the Conventuals at Assisi as a lay brother. He was a model to all the brethren in the performance of the lowliest services. After several years had elapsed, he was sent, at the urgent request of the duke of Milan, to a deserted convent in Lombardy, where, in company with a few devout brothers, he observed the rule of St Francis in its primitive strictness. It was not long before several other convents adopted the same mode of life, and thus joined the ranks of the Observants.
His religious superiors urged Amadeus to be ordained to the holy priesthood, but his humility made him shrink from so lofty a dignity. Nevertheless the command of his superiors and of Pope Sixtus IV compelled him to receive holy orders. In 1471 the pope called him to Rome as his confessor and counselor, for he recognized that Amadeus was being favored with special light from the Holy Ghost. The church of St Peter in Montorio in Rome was entrusted to his care, and later he built a Franciscan convent adjoining it.
In 1487, while visiting and encouraging his brethren in Milan, Blessed Amadeus Menez died a holy death on August tenth. God testified to his sanctity by many miracles; and the title of Blessed was conferred on him in popular devotion. The confirmation of this cult by the Holy See is now being sought in Rome.
*from The Franciscan Book of Saints, Fr. Habig, OFM
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