May 11: St. Ignatius of Laconi
St. Ignatius of Laconi was a Capuchin Friar. He was born in 1701 and died in 1781. He was canonized 1951 by Pius XII.
Born the second of seven children in a poor farming family, Francis Ignatius Vincent Peis was so named because his safe delivery through a difficult pregnancy was achieved through the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi. His mother promised the saint that she would name her unborn baby Francis and that he would join the Capuchins as an adult.
Since his early childhood, Francis demonstrated a capacity for hard work in the fields and a strong piety. He would often be seen in prayer and was known to wait at the church doors every morning in prayer until they were opened.
He wanted to join the Capuchins as a teenager, but his father would not allow him to because the family depended on his labour to survive. However, on surviving a riding accident through God’s intervention at the age of 20, he decided to enter the Capuchin monastery at once, and took his vows a year later, taking his second name, Ignatius, as his religious name.
Ignatius spent his first 15 years as a Capuchin doing various menial jobs around the monastery and for the last 40 years of his life he was appointed questor, or offical beggar, for the monastery. He would travel around the town collecting food and donations for the friars.
He was particularly well loved by the poor and by children, and was often given alms by those who barely had anything to give. He refused them from the very poor, saying that it was better for them to keep it for themselves. He tended to the sick and to street children everyday on his rounds through town, and many miracles of healing were said to have occurred through his intercession.