Dominican Saints 101: St. Vincent Ferrer

May 4, 2012

Window of St. Vincent Ferrer, Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, Rome
I can only imagine that St. Vincent Ferrer must have been intense.  Vincent Ferrer (c. 1350-1419, feast – May 5*) was an amazing preacher and a wonder worker.  His did both with such zeal and passion that it can truly be said of him, “Zeal for your house has consumed me” (Ps. 69:10). Through much of his life, St. Vincent Ferrer was a preacher – a famous preacher.  He traveled all throughout Europe zealously preaching.  Grace, coming through the instrument of his preaching, led to the conversion of around 25,000 Jews, 8,000 Muslims, and even more Catholics who were not living lives based on the Gospel.  He was famous, in particular, for preaching the apocalypse.  He became so well known for this that the Pope even allowed him to style himself as the Angel of the Judgment, and in Christian art he is often portrayed with angelic wings. As prodigious a preacher as he was, St. Vincent Ferrer was also a thaumaturgus – a worker of miracles.  In fact, when he would preach, there was a bell that traveled with him called the “Miracle Bell” that would be rung every time he would work a miracle.  (Our parish of St. Vincent Ferrer in New York still has its “Miracle Bell” in honor of her patron.)  When it came time to examine his life for the process of canonization, when the officials reached 800 miracles, they asked for no more.  That was more than enough His miracles were not just the more regular ones like healing the sick either.  He worked some truly fantastic ones.  On one occasion, a woman had gone crazy, killed her son and chopped him up, and then attempted to serve him in a stew to her husband.  When he found out about it, he fled to St. Vincent Ferrer who then came and worked a miracle in which he both put the boy back together and brought him back to life. Through St. Vincent Ferrer’s intercession, may the Lord grant us the grace to be zealous preachers of the Gospel and faithful servants working for the spread of His kingdom. O God, through the wonderful preaching of your confessor, the blessed Vincent, you granted that a multitude of peoples should come to acknowledge your name; grant, we beseech you, that we may be worthy to be rewarded in heaven by him whom he announced on earth as the Judge who is to come, our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you for ever and ever. * N.B. On the Roman calendar, St. Vincent Ferrer’s feast is April 5, but because that date often falls during Holy Week or the Easter Octave, in 2001, the Dominican Order received permission to celebrate his feast on May 5.

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