Thursday, May 7, 2009


"When you have some spare time, go off by yourself and pray."

Jeremiah (John) Kostist was born on June 29, in 1556, at Tzazo in Wallachia, Romania. His family were good Christians and his grandfather would take him to cut wood for the poor, while his mother used excess grain to make bread for them. In his home area there were few Catholics and many Orthodox and Protestant Christians, as well as Muslims. At 18 he left for southern Italy where he met the Capuchins at Bari.
In his early twenties he moved to Naples and after a while he joined the Capuchins there in 1578 where he took the name Jeremiah. From 1579 and for the next forty years he ministered at St Ephrem's friary which had room for 160 friars and was still overcrowded. He often gave up his bed, room and privacy to provide for others. The only privilege he sought was of serving the most critically ill. He spent much of the night in prayer. Indeed, his advice to the friars was "When you have some spare time, go off by yourself and pray."
After walking seven miles in the cold rain on a mission of mercy he caught double pneumonia and died on March 5, 1625. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1983. His feast day is May 8th.

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