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Thursday, November 13, 2014
Saint Didacus of Alcalá

  St. Didacus by Francisco de Zurbarán

1955 Calendar (Semidouble): November 13

Today is the Feast of St. Didacus.  While most people are not aware, the City of San Diego, CA is named after St. Didacus of Alcalá.

St. Didacus was a Spanish lay brother of the Order of Friars Minor who served as among the first group of missionaries to the newly conquered Canary Islands. He was born in c. 1400 to poor yet pious parents who named him after St. James, the patron saint of Spain.  In Spanish, St. James is called "St. Santiago" and Diego is a derivative of Santiago.

Even as a young age he was called to the religious life.  He joined the Order of Friars Minor at the friary in Albaida.  He is remembered today for his missionary work in the New World.  For a time he also headed a large monastery he had founded there. St. Didacus was above all a contemplative, and his abundant good works were the fruit of his ardent love of Christ. His charity for the sick was especially moving.

He died at Alcalá de Henares on 12 November 1463.
"St. Didacus was canonized by Pope Sixtus V in 1588, the first after a long hiatus following the Reformation, and the first of a lay brother of the Order of Friars Minor. His feast day is celebrated on 13 November, since 12 November, the anniversary of his death, was occupied, first, by that of Pope Saint Martin I, then by that of the Basilian monk and Eastern Catholic bishop and martyr, Josaphat Kuntsevych" (Source).

There are many miracles attributed to the intercession of St. Didacus.  One such miracle follows:

On a hunting trip, Henry IV of Castile fell from his horse and injured his arm. In intense pain and with his doctors unable to relieve his agony, he went to Alcalá and prayed to Didacus for a cure. The saint's body was removed from his casket and placed beside the king. Henry then kissed the body and placed the saint's hand on his injured arm. The king felt the pain disappear and his arm immediately regained its former strength.

Parroquia de San Diego, Today Printers and Publishers, Bacolod City, Philippines, pp. 176–177

Almighty and eternal God, Your wondrous providence has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the strong. Hear our humble prayer and grant that the prayers of Your blessed confessor Didacus may make us worthy of eternal glory in heaven. Through Our Lord . . .


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