At first glance perhaps the most remarkable quality of Saint Lawrence of Brindisi is his outstanding gift of languages. In addition to a thorough knowledge of his native Italian, he had complete reading and speaking ability in Latin, Hebrew, Greek, German, Bohemian, Spanish and French.

He was born on July 22, 1559, and died exactly 60 years later on his birthday in 1619. His parents William and Elizabeth Russo gave him the name of Julius Caesar, Caesare in Italian. After the early death of his parents, he was educated by his uncle at the College of St. Mark in Venice.

When he was just 16 he entered the Capuchin Franciscan Order in Venice and received the name of Lawrence. He completed his studies of philosophy and theology at the University of Padua and was ordained a priest at 23.

With his facility for languages he was able to study the Bible in its original texts. At the request of Pope Clement VIII, he spent much time preaching to the Jews in Italy. So excellent was his knowledge of Hebrew, the rabbis felt sure he was a Jew who had become a Christian.

In 1956 the Capuchins completed a 15-volume edition of his writings. Eleven of these 15 contain his sermons, each of which relies chiefly on scriptural quotations to illustrate his teaching. St. Lawrence also wrote a commentary on Genesis and several treatises against Martin Luther.

Lawrence’s sensitivity to the needs of people—a character trait perhaps unexpected in such a talented scholar—began to surface. He was elected major superior of the Capuchin Franciscan province of Tuscany at the age of 31. He had the combination of brilliance, human compassion and administrative skill needed to carry out his duties. In rapid succession he was promoted by his fellow Capuchins and was elected minister general of the Capuchins in 1602. In this position he was responsible for great growth and geographical expansion of the Order.

Lawrence was appointed papal emissary and peacemaker, a job which took him to a number of foreign countries. An effort to achieve peace in his native kingdom of Naples took him on a journey to Lisbon to visit the king of Spain. Serious illness in Lisbon took his life in 1619. He was canonized in 1881 and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope John XXIII in 1959.

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Comments

12 COMMENTS

    • @Edward — you cannot be serious! Tongue-in-cheek, right? Otherwise you might want to actually read the article and find words like “early death of parents”. (He could have used it as an excuse to “hate” God.) Or, “with his facility for languages”. (We all have particular gifts God wants us to use for His greater honor and glory. Have you found yours?) And, “sensitivity to the needs of people…”. (I guess you can fill that one in.) Maybe you’re not “brilliant… or have admins. skills” but you have what God gave you. And God wants you to use it for his greater honor and glory and your salvation.

  1. @Edward — you cannot be serious! Tongue-in-cheek, right? Otherwise you might want to actually read the article and find words like “early death of parents”. (He could have used it as an excuse to “hate” God.) Or, “with his facility for languages”. (We all have particular gifts God wants us to use for His greater honor and glory. Have you found yours?) And, “sensitivity to the needs of people…”. (I guess you can fill that one in.) Maybe you’re not “brilliant… or have admins. skills” but you have what God gave you. And God wants you to use it for his greater honor and glory and your salvation.

  2. Work hard, study, be kind to others. Do your part and pray asking God to help you be the man he would have you be. Following His path for your life will lead to fulfillment and happiness.

  3. Edward,
    All declared Saints have much to teach us. Each one came to their unique perfection of their unique gifts and thus can witness in all goodness, beauty and truth of the mysteries of God. This St was also named a “Doctor” of the Church. This means he is even more elevated as one we can learn so much from and help each of us grow and flourish into the fullness of self, that God intended. They (Saints), are like a good instrument, a map, to help us all to find our way to our ultimate Truth and Union, destiny which is through, with, in, of and for God, and overflows into and for the lives of others in love and service – all for the Glory of God and the salvation of souls. God bless you in you journey – keep an open heart and mind to the Truth that is FOR you in the Church and the Saints. Keep your senses pure and guarded. Become a member of the “Angelic Warfare Confraternity” which will be of great help in the humility and purity we have to acquire to become fully alive and aware. You will gain understanding, receive help forming, and guarding all the faculties of your soul. Promulgate this to help others. Keep your eyes focused on God and our end – which is eternity with God. This will benefit you and all you meet. LEARN the faith handed down to us by the “Fathers of the Church”, LEARN Philosophy in the (right) way – read and learn from the classics – get m/read the Great Books list, so you can GROW in the faith and LIVE the faith and therefore come to truly know yourself, God, others, and help proclaim the GOSPEL OF GOD who is LOVE by your witness. May God Bless and keep you – always start the day with the simple guardian angel prayer and the morning offering. Take Mary as your special guide as she is the best teacher, with the purest intent/heart only wanting to bring all of her spiritual children of which we (all) are, by the gift of her to John by Jesus at the foot of the cross. Do these and all prayer not only in your head or with your lips but FROM the DEPTHS of your heart…
    Through, With and In His Love,
    Darlys

    PS. Everything in the Church has a depth, beauty and purpose – nothing is dull, void, boring, untrue or lacking – except everyone of our lives lived fully integrated into it and then coming fully alive in Christ to manisfest and animate the world…
    “Thy Kingdom Come”

  4. St. Lawrence of Brindisi, please pray for and intercede with Our Lord to send his Holy Spirit to help my younger daughter lose her bad habits, figure out responsible living, and use her numerous intellectual gifts to help those less fortunate than herself. Thank you in advance for this hoped for favor.

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