Blessed Didacus Joseph was born on March 29, 1743, in Cadiz, Spain. He was baptized Joseph Francis. His parents loved their faith and practiced it. They were delighted when their child constructed an altar and decorated it. He would kneel and pray to Jesus, to Our Lady and to St. Joseph.
When he was old enough, Joseph learned how to serve Mass at the Capuchin Franciscan church just down the street. Joseph learned to love the Mass. He used to get up early enough to be at the church each morning to wait for the doors to be unlocked. He never missed a day. One of the Capuchin priests or brothers gave Joseph a book about the lives of the Capuchin saints. He read it and read it again. Joseph learned every story. He grew to love the holy men who were poor and humble like Jesus. The day came when he asked to join the order. He was accepted and went to Seville, Spain, for his training, called a novitiate. He began a new life with a new name, Brother Didacus.
After years of preparation, Brother Didacus was ordained a priest. He was sent out to preach to the people the Good News of Jesus. He loved doing this. His homilies were so clear and kind that people listened. They even brought friends to listen. Soon an ordinary church was too small for the crowds. When Father Didacus was preaching, the talks were held outdoors, usually in the town square or in the streets. Father Didacus loved to preach about the Blessed Trinity. He was always available to hear confessions, too. He was happy when people came to the sacrament of Reconciliation. Whenever he had some free time, he visited prisons and hospitals. He also would pay calls at the homes of shut-ins.
Father Didacus died in 1801 and was declared "blessed" by Pope Leo XIII in 1894.
Bl. Didacus received much of his courage to grow in holiness by reading about the lives of other holy men. Which of the saints has particularly influenced my life?