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Lives of the Saints:

How They Changed the World

Saint Nicholas of Flue (1417–1487)

Saint Nicholas of Flue (1417–1487)

Patron saint of Switzerland and of the Swiss Guards who protect the Pope

Feast day: March 21




Saint Nicholas of Flue was born in 1417 and was a soldier. At age 30 he married, and he and his wife, Dorothy, had 10 children. At age 50 he told his wife that he had heard God’s call to be a hermit. Dorothy “recognized his call and gave her consent,” and he spent the next 20 years alone in a small cottage, fasting and listening to the increasing rivers of people who came to ask his advice or pray with him. At age 64, he was asked to settle a political situation in Switzerland that could have led to a civil war. He was so respected and his counsel so wise that his advice was immediately enacted, saving Swiss peace and unity. He died at age 70, surrounded by his children and embraced by his wife, and he is honored to this day as a national hero in Switzerland. (Taken from Saints Passionate and Peculiar [Saint Mary’s Press]) (Image in public domain-70)