Saint of the Day|
Mariner fans love this saint
This St. Nicholas, not the famous one, got in trouble for being too generous
By Tony Staley
Feel like going to sea or are you a Seattle Major League Baseball
team fan? Then keep St. Nicholas of Tolentino in mind. He and St.
Michael the Archangel are the patrons of mariners.
St. Nicholas of Tolentino - not to be confused with his more
famous gift-bearing namesake - was born in 1245 at Sant' Angelo,
Ancona, Italy (it's on the eastern coast of Italy, opposite Pisa
His middle-aged parents had long wanted children, so they made a
pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Nicholas at Bari (at the top of
the heel on Italy's southeastern coast). And that was how they
chose that name for their only child.
After first studying for the diocesan priesthood, Nicholas
decided to join the Augustinians after hearing one of the order's
friars preaching on the biblical passage, "Love not the world,
nor the things of the world.... The world passes away." He made
his vows in 1263 after going through the novitiate under that
Nicholas was ordained in 1270 at Cingoli after completing studies
at San Ginesio, where he got into trouble for being too generous
in giving away the order's food to the poor. He served for a
short while as master of novices at Sant' Elpidio.
Then, in 1274, he was moved to Tolentino, where he soon built a
reputation for eloquent preaching and as a confessor. When he
arrived in Tolentino, the town was still feeling the effects of
civil strife, as well as from religious fanaticism and schism.
His vigorous campaign of street preaching is said to have
resulted in the conversion of many hardened sinners.
Nicholas also was known for his charitable work among the poor,
the sick, the needy, children and criminals. He also had a
reputation for miraculous healings of the sick, including a blind
Perhaps the most interesting miracle attributed to him came from
the Life of St. Nicholas written in 1380 by Jordan of Saxony.
According to this story - more of a legend - a man was killed by
a gang of his enemies, who then threw him into a lake. Throughout
the attack, the man prayed to Nicholas for protection. A week
later, Nicholas appeared, removed the man's body from the water
and brought him back to life. The man then went to confession,
told bystanders that Nicholas helped him, and died.
Perhaps that story explains why Nicholas is the patron of
mariners, or maybe it's because he lived near the sea.
After an illness of about a year, St. Nicholas died in 1305 at
Tolentino on Sept. 10, the day on which we celebrate his feast.
He was canonized in 1446.
Whether you're a seafarer or a Seattle Mariners fan, keep
Nicholas in mind. He's good at miracles.
Sources: Butler's Lives of the Saints, Dictionary of Saints, Patron Saints and 365 Saints.