Saint Peter Regalado

Saint Peter Regalado

(St Pierre Regalat, San Pedro Regalado)

Feast Day – March 30

The life of this great servant of God appeared to be merely the unfolding and an ever stronger exemplification of the virtues which he received in holy baptism. Born in 1390 of wealthy and devout parents at Valladolid in Spain, he lost his father at an early age; but he himself became the comfort of his pious mother, who with joy and gratitude to God recognized in her little son distinct signs of future holiness.

One could notice nothing childish in him. He loved places of retirement, where he would sit for hours in deepest devotion. Not only did the saintly child meditate upon the sufferings of Christ, but he wished also to have a share in them by inflicting pain on his tender body.

When he was ten years old, he importuned his mother to permit him to consecrate himself entirely to God in the Franciscan Order. The prudent woman first tried his vocation for a long time; but after three years, when she could no longer doubt that the call came from God, she gave her consent despite his youthful age; and thirteen-year-old Peter was also granted admittance into the convent, a thing frequently done in those days. Although he was a child, he practiced all the austerities and virtues of a perfect religious.

Just at that time there was being introduced into Spain a stricter observance of the rule, and peter attached himself to it with lively zeal. From Valladolid he traveled with his teacher and superior, Father Peter of Villagarcia, to the quiet little convent of Aguilar in the diocese of Osma, where he prepared himself for the priesthood by earnest study and still more earnest prayer. He had been a priest but a short time when his teacher, who had set out on a journey to establish new convents of this reform movement, believed that he could find no one in Augilar better fitted for the superiorship than his pupil, Peter Regalado. In this position he proved himself so efficient that, after the death of Father Peter of Villagarcia in the year 1442, he was appointed head of all the convents of the movement in Spain. Whatever he, as superior, taught the brethren, they saw him observe most perfectly in his own life. Perhaps to enable him to better supervise the convents, Peter had the ability to bilocate, as he was often known to be at two different convents at exactly the same time taking care of important matters.

Saint Peter Regalado kept almost continuous silence; the greater part of the night he devoted to prayer; Holy Mass he celebrated with such devotion that often he was not able to refrain from tears. He scourged his body sometimes even until he bled; his bed was the bare floor or a little straw; nine times a year he kept a forty-day fast, mostly on bread and water. Religious poverty he observed most rigorously, for which reason he had to suffer much opposition and even persecution. He accepted that, however, in patience and meekness out of love for God.

His love of neighbor was so great that he often brought the poor and the sick with him into the convent and cared for them with great love. God rewarded his faithful service with most extraordinary graces. At prayer he was so filled with seraphic ardor that he was seen raised above the ground, with flames radiating from his body. On occasion there occurred a prodigy such as was once observed in the life of St Francis: the flames rose above the roof of the convent through not damaging it. The bishop of Osma, who one saw this prodigy himself, cried out:

“Truly, that is the abode of God.”

It seemed that the body of the holy man possessed the agility and ease which our glorified bodies will one day have, because he crossed over rivers as though they were solid ground; and often he was found at the same hour at convents far distant from one another, transacting business pertaining to his office.

God almighty announced the praises of His servant through the mouths of babes. On one occasion, Peter said to a babe in the arms of his mother: “May the Lord bless you, my dear child! Oh, what a beautiful and brilliant soul you have!” At this the babe turned to him and said to the amazement of its mother: “But still more beautiful is your soul, which God has adorned with so many graces.”

Soon, however, the great mass of the people was to praise him.

Saint Peter Regalado died in the sixty-sixth year of his life, on March 31, 1456, and immediately the veneration of the people began. His grave was glorified by innumerable miracles.

In 1492, the Catholic Queen Isabella requested to have several fingers taken from the saint as relics. This was done, and the amputation of the fingers caused blood to flow from the wounds for some time, as if the saint were still alive. This took place 36 years after the death of the saint.

Pope Innocent XI beatified him, and Pope Benedict XIV solemnly enrolled Saint Peter Regalado among the saints.

from: The Franciscan Book Of Saints, ed. by Marion Habig, OFM

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