Dominican Saints 101: Bl. Bartholomew of Vicenza

October 27, 2011

One of the earliest members of the Order of Preachers, Bl. Bartholomew of Vicenza (1201-1270, feast day – Oct. 27) was known throughout his life to be a holy friar, and able preacher, and an effective peacemaker. Receiving the habit from St. Dominic himself, he gave himself over to his formation so that he might grow faithful in religion.  Immediately after his ordination, he was sent to Lombardy to preach against the heretics who were leading others away from the true faith.  He was so effective in this, that the Holy Father, Pope Gregory IX called him to Rome and appointed him Master of the Sacred Palace (the Papal Theologian), which is an office traditionally held by Dominicans. Because of the differing needs of the Church, the following Pope, Innocent IV, appointed him to become a bishop on the Island of Cyprus.  Already having become a friend of St. Louis the King of France, Bl. Bartholomew renewed this friendship as St. Louis went through Cyprus on his way to Egypt during the Seventh Crusade (1248).  This friendship led to St. Louis giving relics of the True Cross and a thorn from the Crown of Thorns to Bl. Bartholomew. After his transfer to his native Vicenza, Bl. Bartholomew built the Church of the Crown to house these relics.  Here he not only continued to preach the truths of the faith and free the local Church from the errors of the Manicheans, but he also established such a sense of peace that the people asked him to become their temporal ruler as well.  He rightfully declined, but this shows the great virtue that he not only had but also that he instilled in his people. May we turn to him for intercession when there is unrest and discord, and may he help us in times of need. O God, who madest Blessed Bartholomew, Thy Confessor and Bishop, wonderful in leading the enemies of the faith from the darkness of error to the light of truth, and in bringing back multitudes to peace and concord, grant, through his intercession, that Thy peace, which passeth all understanding, may keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee for ever and ever.

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