Double (1955 Calendar): April 24
At Gruch in Switzerland, St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen, priest and martyr, of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. He was sent there to preach the Catholic faith, but was put to death by the heretics. He was numbered among the holy martyrs by the Sovereign Pontiff, Benedict XIV.St. Fidelis was born in Sigmaringen, Germany in 1577 as Mark Rey. A lawyer by professor, Mark traveled much across Europe as a tutor to various aristocractic families before starting on a project to defend the poor. In 1612, he became a Franciscan Capuchin monk and took the name Fidelis.
St. Fidelis served as a missionary to Grisons, Switzerland and had so much success that the protestants claimed he was a spy for the Austrian emperor. He was stabbed to death in a church by a group of protestant heretics. He died with the final words, "Lord, forgive my enemies."
He was canonized by Pope Benedict XIV in 1746.
O God, You set the heart of Fidelis on fire with a seraphic love, and granted him both the triumph of martyrdom and the gift of miracles in preaching the true faith. May his merits and prayers make us strong in faith and love, so that by Your grace we may be faithful in Your service until death. Through Our Lord . . .