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Saint Ignatius of Laconi

Saint Ignatius was born as Vincenzo Peis on Decemvber 10th, 1701 to the poor peasants Mattia Peis Cadello and Anna Maria Sanna Casu in Sardinia. While he was still in the womb, Saint Ignatius's mother prayed for the intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi because the pregnancy had been very difficult. Because of the intercession of Saint Francis, his parent's gave him the religious name Francesco Ignazio Vincenzo at his baptism. As he grew older, Saint Ignatius joined his parents and other six brothers and sisters in the fields to help support the family financially.

At the age of 17, Saint Ignatius fell seriously ill with an unknown illness. As he laid bedridden he prayed aloud that if he could only be healed of this sickness he would consecrate himself to God and join the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. He recovered fully from the illness but when he informed his father of his pledge and intent to join the Friars his father convinced him to wait instead as he needed his help in the fields to support the family. Two years later Saint Ignatius was riding a horse when the horse panicked and began to react violently. Saint Ignatius prayed for the intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi for help and as the horse began to calm down he renewed his earlier vows. When he approached his father for the second time now his father relented and raised no further objections.

Saint Ignatius was received into the novitiate on November 10th, 1721 and made his profession of vows a year later in 1722. For the next fifteen years he worked in the weaving shed and afterwards, starting in 1737, he worked for the order as an alms beggar. He seldom spoke and when he did his words were full of kindness and affection. He constantly urged sinners to perform penance and instructed any children he came across in the faith. During the investigation for his canonization a witness testified:

“I saw with my own eyes how the servant of God went about with downcast eyes. He always held his rosary in his hand. The children ran to him, and he gave them pieces of bread. When the people saw him passing by, they showed him the greatest respect. If some of them were quarreling, they kept silence at his approach.”

Through it all his health continued to be very frail and in 1779 he became blind. On May 11th, 1781, Saint Ignatius of Laconi died of illness.

After receiving several reports of miracles at his tomb the Vatican opened a cause of canonization and began to investigate. Pope Pius IX declared him venerable on May 26th, 1869 and Pope Pius XII formally canonized him on October 21st, 1945, calling him

"A hero of sanctity, of humble birth, who lived his life in lowly conditions… Long and difficult tasks seemed easy to him; easy, too, was the obedience he gave to his superiors. For him even the most painful corporal sufferings were light and sweet, all because he accepted whatever happened to him, whether agreeable or disagreeable, with complete resignation. He relied entirely on the will of God. That was the source of his strength.”

Today is feast day is celebrated on May 11th.

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