Peter of Alcantara

Feast Day: October 18 (19)
Canonized: April 28, 1669
Beatified: April 18, 1622

Peter was born in Spain in 1499. Faith and education were both important in Peter’s life from the time he was a young boy. He joined the Franciscans after he graduated from college at the age of 16. He was known for his acts of penance, which he believed helped him to grow closer to Christ and to understand the great suffering Jesus took on out of love for all people. For example, he would never eat large meals and would often fast from eating anything at all.

It is also said that Peter slept very little and that he always slept sitting up. Perhaps he was obeying Jesus’ words, “Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come” (Matthew 24:42). Because he was awake most of the time when his brother friars were sleeping, he is the patron saint of night watchmen.

The Church was in need of reform during Peter’s lifetime. Peter believed that while changes had to be made in certain church practices, it was most important that reform begin with each individual person, especially people in leadership positions like the bishops and priests. He always emphasized the importance of Church leaders setting a good example.

Peter was a very popular preacher. He reminded people of the Church’s mission and our mission as baptized Catholics. He encouraged Catholics to renew their faith. His words also inspired priests and nuns to recognize that God had specially blessed them with a vocation to religious life.

Peter died in 1562 and was canonized in 1622. His life reminds us that we, too, are called to set a good example for others. Our daily actions can show others that our love for the Lord comes first in our lives.

Connecting to Blest Are We® Parish and School
Grade 4, chapter 4