St. John of Capistrano

Born at Capistrano, near Aquila, perhaps of a Nordic family that had emigrated to Italy, he studied law at Perugia and eventually became governor there in 1412. He was taken prisoner when Malatesta di Rimini conquered Perugia and is said to have had a vision in which St. Francis of Assisi invited him to enter the Franciscan Order. This he did, and he made his religious profession in 1418.

His master was Bernardine of Siena and after his ordination in 1425 he dedicated himself to preaching and being a promoter of the Franciscan reform. Pope Martin V appointed him to resolve the conflict between the Franciscans and the "Fraticelli" (1426). Later, John was sent to the East as visitator of the Franciscans, and after the Council of Florence he was named apostolic nuncio to Sicily and then papal legate to France. He had been a missionary in Germany, Austria, Poland and Hungary, where he preached the Crusade against the Turks.

After the conquest of Constantinople, the Turks attacked the fortress at Belgrade. The victory of the Christians was due in large part to the zeal and prayers of St. John, and the feast of the Transfiguration was instituted to commemorate the event. John died at the age of 70, leaving behind 19 volumes of his writings and more than 700 letters.

This saint died in Austria on this date in 1456, when the Church was in the midst of schism and was threatened by the Turks. He was canonized in 1630 and inscribed on the Roman Calendar in 1890.

Memorial October 23rd.

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