Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Saint Lawrence of Brindisi (1559–1619)

Saint Lawrence of Brindisi (1559–1619)

Feast day: July 21

Saint Lawrence of Brindisi was born in 1559 in Brindisi, Kingdom of Naples, and died exactly 60 years later, on his birthday in 1619. Born to successful merchants who died while Saint Lawrence was young, he was raised and educated by his uncle at the College of Saint Mark in Venice, Italy.

At the age of 16, Saint Lawrence entered the Capuchin Franciscans, subsequently completed studies in both philosophy and theology at the University of Padua, and was ordained at the age of 23. He had a tremendous linguistic capacity and became an accomplished polyglot, speaking, reading, and writing Latin, Italian, Hebrew, Greek, German, Bohemian, Spanish, and French. His skill in Hebrew prompted Pope Clement VIII to place him in charge of ministering to the Jewish population of Italy. His breadth of knowledge and vast Hebrew language abilities mistakenly convinced many rabbis that Saint Lawrence had previously been a Jew.

At the young age of 31, Saint Lawrence became the superior of his order and showed exceptional brilliance, empathy, and administrative ability. He effectively and rapidly expanded the size of his order, both numerically and geographically.

Saint Lawrence later served as a papal nuncio, or ambassador, to foreign nations and worked tirelessly to create peace in the world. A 15-volume omnibus, consisting mostly of sermons, of Saint Lawrence’s teachings, still exists. Saint Lawrence was canonized in 1881 by Pope Leo XII.

(Image via Wikipedia)