St. Peter of Alcantara

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St. Peter of Alcantara, Confessor

St. Peter was born in the year 1499, at Alcantara, in Spain. He became celebrated for his great piety, and the austerity of his life, and in order to distinguish him from other Saints of the same name, received the surname, “of Alcantara.” Besides other signs of future holiness, Peter, when only seven years of age, evinced so great a love for prayer, that he sometimes forgot to eat and drink. During the time of his studies he kept his innocence unspotted in the midst of many dangers, by making prayer, the holy Sacraments, and penances, its guardians. When hardly sixteen years old, he secretly left his father’s house and entered the Franciscan Order, in which he soon became a model of all virtues. After having finished his novitiate, he was charged with different functions, all of which he discharged most successfully. The office of preacher was the most agreeable to him. An incredible number of hardened sinners were converted by his sermons, in which he treated of penance and a reform of life. The fame of his virtues and holiness gave additional weight to every word he uttered. Especially admirable were the untiring zeal with which he practised all manner of bodily austerities, and his continual communion with God in prayer. His whole life was one of extraordinary and almost unexampled mortification. He guarded his eyes so closely, that he not only never looked on a woman’s face, but knew his brethren only by their voices; and after a long sojourn in the monastery, could not tell whether the choir and the dormitory were vaulted or covered with boards. Continue reading