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Saint Paschal Baylón: Devoted to the Eucharist

By Dominic Monti, OFM
Published in Saints
May 21, 2022
2 min read
Saint Paschal Baylón: Devoted to the Eucharist

On May 17, Franciscans celebrate the memory of St. Paschal (Pasqual) Baylón (1540-1592), a friar known for his devotion to the Eucharist.

Born on Pentecost Sunday

Paschal was born to a family of poor shepherds in Torrehermosa, in the province of Zaragosa, Aragon, Spain; he received his name from the fact he was born on Pentecost Sunday (in Spanish, the "Pasch of the Holy Spirit").

Torrehermosa Spain 700x405pxls

Village of Torrehermosa, Spain, the birthplace of Saint Paschal.

(photo: Diego Delso, delso.photo, License CC-BY-SA)

A man of transparent goodness

He began working as a shepherd at age seven; his work made it possible for him to spend long times at prayer; in the pastures he would listen for the bell of the church marking the consecration of Mass and would pause to pray devoutly. He also used his long hours alone to teach himself how to read. He became known as a man of transparent goodness.

Attracted to a simple, contemplative lifestyle

After some years, Paschal moved to the territory of Valencia where he continued his shepherding. He was attracted by the contemplative orientation and simple, austere lifestyle of the Franciscans of the Discalced Reform of St. Peter of Alcantara. After being refused at first because he was too young, he entered the friary at Orito (Alicante) at the age of 24, making his profession in 1565.

Gave himself to humble tasks

During the day Paschal cheerfully gave himself to the humble tasks of keeping the house, cooking, and attending to the poor and the sick who came to the friary for assistance; when free and at night he spent long hours in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. Paschal observed many severe penitential practices of the Discalced friars.

 

St Paschal Baylon friary cell 700x1024pxls

The humble cell in the friary of Vila-Real where Saint Paschal lived and died.

(photo: Millars, Wikimedia Commons)

Shoulder injury caused pain for life

In 1576 Paschal was sent to France to deliver letters to the General Minister of the Observant Franciscans; he had to pass through territory dominated by Huguenots who mocked and even stoned him. He escaped, but suffered a severe shoulder injury as a result, which caused him pain for the rest of his life.

People sought his wise counsel

During his life, Paschal gained the reputation of being a mystic, but he always tried to deflect attention from himself. Nonetheless, many people visited him to benefit from his wise counsel. He died in the friary at Vila-Real in the province of Valencia on Pentecost, 1592.

Significant devotion to Paschal

Miraculous cures were reported even before he was buried, and a significant devotion to him grew up in his home country, Southern Italy, and Spanish colonies abroad.

St Paschal tomb 700x300pxls

      The tomb of Saint Paschal in Vila-Reall. His sanctuary and largely incorrupt body were vandalized

and burned during the Spanish Civil War in 1936. Some of his remains, however, were saved.

This sarcophagus by sculptor Vicente Lloréns Poy, containing the remains, was dedicated in 1992.

(photo: Millars, Wikimedia Commons)

Dominic Monti, OFM

Dominic Monti, OFM

Professor of Franciscan Research in the Franciscan Institute of St. Bonaventure University

Dominic V. Monti, OFM, is a Franciscan Friar of Holy Name Province (USA) and currently professor of Franciscan Research in the Franciscan Institute of St. Bonaventure University. He devoted the greater part of his ministry to teaching the History of Christianity, in particular the history of the Franciscan movement. He has contributed two volumes to the Works of St. Bonaventure series and is author of Francis & His Brothers, a popular history of the Friars Minor. 



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