St. Paschal Baylon
Paschal, a Spanish saint, was born in 1540. From the time he was seven, he worked as a shepherd. He never had the opportunity to go to school. Yet he taught himself to read and write. He did this mainly by asking everyone he met to help him. This he did so that he could read from religious books. He used to whisper prayers often during the day as he took care of the sheep.
When he was twenty-four, the shepherd became a Franciscan brother. His companions liked him. Paschal was easy to get along with and kind. The community noticed that he often did the most unpleasant and hardest chores. He practiced penances that were even more strict than the rule required. Yet he was a happy person. When he had been a shepherd, he had wished he could be in church praying to Jesus. But he couldn't. Now he could. He loved to keep the Lord company in the Blessed Sacrament. He was also honored to be a server at Mass.
St. Paschal's two great loves were the Holy Eucharist and the Blessed Mother. Every day Paschal prayed the Rosary with great love. He also wrote beautiful prayers to our Heavenly Mother.
Out of some scraps of paper, St. Paschal made himself a little notebook. In it, he wrote down some beautiful thoughts and prayers. After he died, his superior showed the little book to the local archbishop. He read the book and said, "These simple souls are stealing heaven from us!"
Paschal died in 1592 at the age of fifty-two. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Alexander VIII in 1690.
How can we grow closer to Jesus in the Eucharist and to Mary? This might be an invitation for us to make a special visit to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and ask Mary to help us be faithful to her Son.