Wednesday, June 12, 2013
St. John of San Facundo

Today the Holy Church celebrates the Feast of St. John of San Facundo (1419 - 1479).

Born the oldest son of John Gonzalez de Castrillo and Sancia Martinez, John was raised in a pious and well-to-do family. He was educated by Benedictines at Fagondez abbey at Sahagun. John was ordained in 1445 and held several benefices in the diocese of Burgos, Spain.

Unlike many of his class who took their vocation as a profession, John felt a true call to service and a holy life, and he gave most of the proceeds from his benefices to the poor. Following a grave illness and major surgery, he became an Augustinian canon at Salamanca, joining on June 18, 1463, and making his final profession on August 28, 1464. He became the Novice-master in the order.  St. John would later become the prior of the order in Salamanca in 1471.

He is noted for his devotion to the Blessed Sacrament; during Mass, he often saw the Host surrounded by light and sometimes had visions of the bodily form of Christ at the moment of consecration. His devotion, and his visions, often led to some very lengthy Masses. He was reported to levitate during his prayers. St. John could read hearts in confession, and became a sought-after spiritual director. He was a great preacher whose sermons helped change social conditions in Salamanca. His sermons against sinful living conditions, and in support of the rights and dignity of workers brought him the opposition of some local leaders. A duke at Alba de Tormes hired assassins to stop him, but they recognized John’s holiness, and would not touch him, confessed to him, and asked forgiveness. The duke later fell ill and was healed by John’s prayers. Some local women, however, were not so concerned; when he preached against wasting resources on extravagant fashions, some of them threw stones at him in the street.

Miracles were attributed to Father John’s intervention, before and after his death. One occurred in Salamanca when a small child fell into a well. The locals made every effort but could not orchestra a rescue. They sent for Father John who went to the scene, laid his waistband on stone wall of the well, and prayed that the waters return the child. The well water rose to ground level, floating the child to safety.

He died on June 11, 1479, possibly from poisoning.  He was canonized by Pope Alexander VIII on October 16, 1690.  Let us seek out his intercession this day and always.


O God, you are the author of peace and the source of love who conferred on Your blessed confessor John the wondrous gift of being able to reconcile enemies. May his merits and prayers root us in Your love so that we may never be tempted to separate ourselves from You. Through our Lord . . .

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