Saint of the day
St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen
This saint’s name was Mark Rey. He was born in Germany in 1578. Mark went to the famous University of Freiburg to become a lawyer. Even as a student, he liked to visit the sick and the poor. He spent time praying daily. His brother chose to become a Capuchin Franciscan priest. Mark, instead, finished his studies and became a very good lawyer.
Mark often took on the cases of poor people who had no money to pay. This won him the nickname, “The Poor Man’s Lawyer.” Because he was very honest, Mark soon became disgusted with the dishonesty of the law courts. He decided to follow his brother and become a priest. He received his religious habit and took the new name Fidelis, which means “faithful.”
Father Fidelis was filled with joy when he was assigned to Switzerland to preach the Good News. At that time in Switzerland there were many people who had left the Catholic faith. Father Fidelis wanted to win these people back to the Church. His preaching brought wonderful results. Many people were converted. But enemies of the Church grew angry at his success.
Fidelis knew that his life was in danger, yet he went right on preaching. In the middle of a sermon one day, someone fired a shot at him, but the bullet missed. Father Fidelis knew he had to leave the town at once. As he was walking down the road to the next town, a mob of angry men stopped him. They ordered him to give up the Catholic religion. “I will not give up the Catholic faith,” Father Fidelis answered firmly. Then the men pounced on him and beat him with their clubs and tools.
The wounded priest pulled himself up to a kneeling position. He prayed: “Lord, forgive my enemies. They do not know what they are doing. Lord Jesus, have mercy on me! Holy Mary, my Mother, help me!” The men attacked him again until they were certain he was dead.
Fidelis died a martyr in 1622 at the age of forty-four. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Benedict XIV in 1746.
It’s a great honor to be able to help others come to know Jesus and his Church. Let’s try by prayer, good example and kind words, to be real apostles in imitation of St. Fidelis.