The Rule, Article 4

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

ST. FELIX OF CANTALICE, Religious, First Order - May 18

• Born 1515, Cantalice
• Died May 18, 1587, Rome, Italy
• Beatified October 1, 1625 by Pope Urban VIII
• Canonized May 22, 1712by Clement XI
• Buried under the altar of the Immaculate Conception Church,
Rome; miracles reported at his tomb

At about 10 years of age Felix was hired out to do the grueling work of a farmhand. From earliest years he exhibited signs of holiness spending leisure time in prayer. He had no learning and could not read. The lives of Desert Fathers were read to him leaving him with the desire to live as a hermit. Felix had a dream in which an angel directed him to join the Capuchins. The Capuchins brothers hesitated at accepting him, but he eventually received the habit in 1543. He professed vows on May 18, 1545. Despite his desire for seclusion, his ministry placed him in direct, daily contact with a multitude of people. It was said that his begging sack was as bottomless as his heart. His response to every benefactor was Deo gratias, which is why he is known as "Brother Deo Gratias". He was also known for never refusing a request for help. People brought their cares immediately to Felix. He would kneel at their side, saying "Our Father" and a "Hail Mary", confident that providence would take care of the rest. He had a fondness for mothers and babies. He would teach the young to say "Jesus, Jesus" or "Deo gratias". Felix gained a reputation as a healer, because he often blessed the sick with a crucifix and they would be healed. People asked him to sing because he had a talent for spontaneously creating and singing spiritual hymns. His devotion to the Blessed Mother was noted in these songs. For his personal devotion and meditation, Felix memorized prayers, liturgical & biblical texts, and spent long hours before the Blessed Sacrament. He is represented in art holding the Infant Jesus in his arms because of a vision he once had when the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and placed the Divine Child in his arms.

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