Paschal Baylon

Feast Day: May 17
Canonized: October 16, 1690
Beatified: October 29, 1618

As a young shepherd, Paschal was so honest that he once offered to give farmers money to repay any harm done when his sheep walked through their crops. Born to a poor Spanish family in 1540, Paschal was put to work as a shepherd at the age of 7. He often prayed when he heard the town church bells ringing during Mass. He worked hard to teach himself to read and, when he could, he read religious books while tending his sheep. He was so holy even as a young man that his friends called him “Blessed Paschal."

He helped support his family with his work until he was 23 years old, when he decided to join the Franciscan order. His superiors wanted him to study to become a priest, but Paschal was so humble he thought he should be a simple brother, working as a cook and gardener and answering the door to visitors.

He spent much of his life in prayer, especially before the Eucharist. Paschal preferred to pray rather than to sleep or eat! When he was not praying, he was helping others, particularly the poor who came to the door of the monastery seeking food or help.

At one point in his life, Paschal was asked to go to France to help spread the Catholic faith. At the time, Catholics were hated in France. Despite the danger, he agreed to go, walking the entire way. When people in France saw his Franciscan clothing, they threw stones at him and beat him. He was even put in prison at one point. Despite this, he would not stop telling people about the Catholic faith.

He returned to Spain in poor health, and died in 1592. In 1690, Paschal was named a saint of the Church.



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