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Catalogue of Franciscan Saints (PDF)
compiled by Mary Lou Coffman, OFS
St. Didacus of Alcala
November 7, 2018
An event every year that begins at 12:00 am on day 7 of November, repeating indefinitely
Saint of the Day for November 7
(c. 1400 – November 12, 1463)
Saint Didacus’ Story
Image: San Diego (Didacus) de Alcalá | Francisco de Zurbarán
Didacus is living proof that God “chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.”
As a young man in Spain, Didacus joined the Secular Franciscan Order and lived for some time as a hermit. After Didacus became a Franciscan brother, he developed a reputation for great insight into God’s ways. His penances were heroic. He was so generous with the poor that the friars sometimes grew uneasy about his charity.
Didacus volunteered for the missions in the Canary Islands and labored there energetically and profitably. He was also the superior of a friary there.
In 1450, he was sent to Rome to attend the canonization of Saint Bernardine of Siena. When many of the friars gathered for that celebration fell ill, Didacus stayed in Rome for three months to nurse them. After he returned to Spain, he pursued a life of contemplation full-time. He showed the friars the wisdom of God’s ways.
As he was dying, Didacus looked at a crucifix and said: “O faithful wood, O precious nails! You have borne an exceedingly sweet burden, for you have been judged worthy to bear the Lord and King of heaven” (Marion A. Habig, OFM, The Franciscan Book of Saints, p. 834).
San Diego, California, is named for this Franciscan, who was canonized in 1588.
We cannot be neutral about genuinely holy people. We either admire them or we consider them foolish. Didacus is a saint because he used his life to serve God and God’s people. Can we say the same for ourselves?