Blessed Davanzato of Poggibonzi
(Beato Davanzato di Poggibonzi)
Confessor, Third Order
Davanzato was a young student preparing for the priesthood when Blessed Luchesio was received in the Third Order at Poggibonzi. It was not long afterwards that Davanzato, who associated much with the devout Luchesio, also received the holy habit, in which he shone for many years as a special glory of the order.
Shortly after his ordination the little parish at Casciano in the diocese of Florence was entrusted to his care, and there he ministered to souls for seventy years, until his death. There he labored with remarkable success, more by his prayers than by his words, and above all by the example of a holy life. In the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ, he could say of the souls entrusted to him: “For them do I sanctify myself.”
Davanzato lived in a small house near his church, and never left it except when his priestly duties required it. Like the holy hermits, he loved to be alone with God. His life was very strict.
Often he sent the meager meal, which a devout young man prepared for him, to a sick person, or he gave it to some poor person at the door, while he contented himself with bread and water. All the provisions in the house were for the use of those who were suffering want. Sometimes it happened that a few more needy persons presented themselves to him after he had disposed of everything. Nevertheless he would send them to the cupboard, confident that they would find something there, and they would, indeed, find a fresh supply. When his attendant expressed his astonishment, the holy pastor would say: “Why are you astonished? Our Lord Himself said, ‘Give and it shall be given to you’”(Lk. 6, 28)
On a certain feastday, several priests came to Casciano for the celebration, and the pastor wished to entertain them hospitably. His servant told him that there was no wine in the cellar. The pastor told Blessed Davanzato of Poggibonzi to go to a nearby spring with a jar and fill it with fresh water; and when he poured it into the glasses afterwards it was exquisite wine. Davanzato taught his young attendant Latin, so they could recite the Divine Office together. This spiritual exercise Blessed Davanzato of Poggibonzi always performed in church kneeling before the altar. Sometimes both he and his servant could hear heavenly melodies during this time, as if the angels themselves were joining in. Toward the close of his life this was perceived in an increased measure.
The holy pastor Blessed Davanzato of Poggibonzi died in his ninety-fifth year, surrounded by his weeping parishioners. In order to protect his body from the great throngs that pressed around, it was placed in a vault. When the vault was opened on the next day, a beautiful lily had grown from the mouth of the deceased. Many miracles continued to occur, for which reason the day of his death is kept as a feastday and the title of Blessed is conferred on him in popular devotion, but his cult has not yet been officially confirmed by the Holy See.
*from The Franciscan Book of Saints, by Fr. Marion Habig, OFM
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