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Saint Vincent Ferrer, Priest
Optional Memorial
April 5th

St Vincent Ferrer (Griffoni Polyptych)
Francesco del Cossa
Oil on panel, 153 x 60 cm
National Gallery, London

Famous Dominican missionary, born at Valencia, January 23, 1350. He was descended from the younger of two brothers who were knighted for their valor in the conquest of Valencia, 1238. In 1340 Vincent's father, William Ferrer, married Constantia Miguel, whose family had likewise been ennobled during the conquest of Valencia. Vincent was their fourth child. A brother, not unknown to history, was Boniface Ferrer, General of the Carthusians, who was employed by the antipope Benedict XIII in important diplomatic missions. Vincent was educated at Valencia, and completed his philosophy at the age of fourteen. In 1367 he entered the Dominican Order, and was sent to the house of studies at Barcelona the following year. In 1370 he taught philosophy at Lerida; one of his pupils there was Pierre Fouloup, later Grand Inquisitor of Aragon.

After this Vincent carried on his apostolic work while in Pedro de Luna's suite. At Valladolid he converted a rabbi, later well known as Bishop Paul of Burgos. At Salamanca Queen Yolanda of Aragon chose him for her confessor, 1391-1395.

St. Vincent felt that he was the messenger of penance sent to prepare men for the judgment. For twenty years he traversed Western Europe preaching penance and awakening the dormant consciences of sinners by his wondrous eloquence. His austere life was but the living expression of his doctrine. The floor was his usual bed; perpetually fasting, he arose at two in the morning to chant the Office, celebrating Mass daily, afterwards preaching, sometimes three hours, and frequently working miracles. After his midday meal he would tend the sick children; at eight o'clock he prepared his sermon for the following day. He usually traveled on foot, poorly clad. He was canonized by Calixtus III at the Dominican Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, Rome, 3 June, 1455.

He died at Vannes, Brittany, April 5, 1419.

(Principal source - Catholic Encyclopedia - 1913 edition)


O God, who raised up the Priest Saint Vincent Ferrer
to minister by the Gospel,
grant, we pray,
that, when the Judge comes,
who Saint Vincent proclaimed on earth,
we may be among those blessed
to behold him reigning with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.

First Reading: 2 Timothy 4:1-5
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Gospel Reading: Luke 12:35-40
"Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the marriage feast, so that they may open to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes; truly, I say to you, he will gird himself and have them sit at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those servants! But know this, that if the householder had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. You also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an unexpected hour."

Link to the Vatican Museum: The miracles of St Vincent Ferrer, Ercole de' Roberti, (Ferrara circa 1450 - 1496), The miracles of St Vincent Ferrer, 1473, tempera on wood.

Vatican Website, St. Vincent Ferrer- Prepared by Pontifical University Saint Thomas Aquinas

A reading from the treatise of St Vincent Ferrer On the Spiritual Life
How to preach

"In sermons and talks, use simple language and a homely conversational style to explain each particular point. As far as you can, give plenty of examples; then, whoever has committed that particular sin will have his conscience pricked, as though you were preaching to him alone. But it must be done in such a way that your words do not appear to come from a soul full of pride or scorn. Speak rather out of the depths of love and fatherly care, like a father suffering for his sinful children, as if they were gravely ill, or trapped in a deep pit, whom he is trying to draw out and set free, and look after like a mother. You must be like one who delights in their progress, and in the glory in heaven that they are hoping for.

Such a style usually has a good effect on a congregation. For, to speak of virtues and vices in general terms evokes little response from listeners.

Similarly in confession, whether you are gently comforting the timid, or more sternly putting the fear of God into the hardened sinner, you must always show the deepest love, so that the sinner always feels that your words come out of pure love. In this way, your words of sweetness and love will have a more penetrating effect.

But in your desire to be of use to the souls of your neighbours, you must first of all have recourse to God with your whole heart, and simply make this request of him. Ask him in his goodness to pour into you that love in which is the sum of all virtues, through which you may be able to achieve what you desire."


Lord God, who sent Saint Vincent Ferrer to preach the gospel of Christ, grant that we may see the Son of Man reigning in heaven whom he proclaimed as judge of mankind. (We make our prayer) through our Lord.


Saint Vincent Ferrer, Priest
Born in Valencia in Spain in the year 1350. He joined the Dominican Order and taught theology. He journeyed much as a preacher and reaped much fruit in protecting the true faith and reforming morals. He died at Vannes in France in the year 1419.

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