St. John of Sahagun
St. John was born at Sahagun, Spain, in the fifteenth century. He received his education from the Benedictine monks of his town. Then John became a parish priest. He could have lived a very comfortable life in the cathedral parish or in other wealthy parishes. However, John felt attracted to the poverty and simple lifestyle that Jesus had lived. Father John chose to keep charge only of a small chapel. There he celebrated Mass, preached and taught catechism.
Father John realized that he needed to know theology better. He enrolled in classes at the great Catholic University of Salamanca. After four years of hard study, he became famous as a preacher. Nine years later, he joined a community of Augustinian friars. They were very impressed by the way he practiced the Christian virtues. He was obedient to his superiors and humble, too. He also continued his preaching. His beautiful homilies or sermons brought about a change in the people of Salamanca. They had been quarreling violently among themselves. Often young noblemen fought each other in revenge. St. John succeeded in ending many of these bitter fights. He even persuaded people to forgive one another.
He was not afraid to correct evils, even when the evildoers were powerful people who could take revenge. Once he corrected a duke for the way he was making the poor people suffer. What the priest said was true! In anger, the duke sent two of his men to kill St. John. The two men found the priest and approached him. Father John was so calm and kind. Both men were overcome with sorrow and asked his pardon. Then the duke became sick. Through the prayers of St. John, he repented of his sins and recovered.
It was the graces he received from prayer and from the Mass that gave St. John his special power as a preacher. He celebrated the Mass with great devotion.
St. John of Sahagun died on June 11, 1479. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Alexander VIII in 1690.
Let us ask the Holy Spirit to help us become effective Christians. May our whole manner of speaking and acting bring others to Christ.