Caesar Rossi was born at Brindisi, in Naples, Italy and was the son of
Guglielmo de Rossi and Elisabetta Masella. His father died when he was
only twelve. As Caesar was growing up, he felt God calling him to
serve Him. He obeyed this calling and at the age of sixteen, he joined
the Capuchin Franciscans taking the name Brother Lorenzo or Lawrence.
He was sent to the University of Padua where he studied theology and
gained a wonderful knowledge of the Bible. Lawrence, whose first
language was Italian, surprised everyone by learning six languages
also. He turned out to be a brilliant student who could speak French,
German, Greek, Spanish, Syriac and Hebrew.
After he was ordained a priest, he became a popular preacher as he
could comfortably preach in any of the six languages he had learnt.
Because he could speak Hebrew, he worked for the conversion of the Jews
living in Rome. Later, St. Lawrence was sent to set-up a new house for
the Franciscans in Austria. The emperor, Rudolph II, did not want them
to come. But Lawrence's tender care for victims of a plague won Emperor
Rudolph to support his mission.
Then the emperor asked Lawrence to persuade the German princes to fight
the Turks who were trying to wipe out Christendom (the followers of
Christ). Lawrence did convince the princes to go into battle, on the
condition, that he would go with them too. Lawrence agreed. But when
the soldiers saw how large the Turkish army was, they wanted to quit.
So St. Lawrence putting his trust in God, rode in the lead armed only
with a crucifix. The Christian soldiers took heart and fought bravely.
The Turks were completely defeated. St. Lawrence received the praise
which he refused, and gave glory to God for their success.
In 1602, St. Lawrence became the master general of his order. He worked
hard, preached beautiful sermons and prepared many writings to spread
the Good News. He went on important peace missions to Munich in Germany
and Madrid in Spain. He helped the rulers see how much pain and
suffering this enmity was causing and made peace between the two
The strain of traveling so much and his hard life finally made St.
Lawrence very sick. He died on his birthday, July 22, in 1619. The
Capuchin Franciscans put together fifteen volumes of his sermons,
letters and writings in 1956. And three years later, he was honored
as "Apostolic Doctor of the Church" by Pope John XXIII in 1959.
To whom do I give credit and offer thanks for the success or good
things that I receive in life?