Monday, May 11, 2009
IGNATIUS OF LACONI
Bornin 1701, the second of nine children, Ignatius was originally baptised Francis Ignatius Vincent Peis and he came from the town of Laconi, Sardinia. The family were poor farmers and Ignatius was promised from before birth to St. Francis in return for a safe delivery. Ignatius received the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist when only six and referred to the Church as 'my home'. People called him the 'little saint'. Despite his vow Ignatius' father would not let him become a friar. Eventually Ignatius revealed to his parent's his own vow to become a Capuchin and they relented.
In 1721 Ignatius attempted to join the Order at Cagliari but was refused on the grounds of his frail health. The family had recourse to their protector the Marquis of Laconi who convinced the Provincial give the lad a go. In 1722 Ignatius made his vows. he had a number of jobs and worked as a cook for a while. For the last forty years of his life he would quest for the friary of Buoncammino.
He was no scholar but an illiterate peasant with a rough dialect. What he lacked in education he made up for in devotion to Christ and the people recognised his holiness. He would frequently refuse the offerings of the poor by telling them to hold on to the gift until he needed it. His was a ministry of personal example, self-effacing, compassionate, and full of faith. Even though he was blind for the last two years of his life he still ministered. He died in 1781 and was canonised in 1951.
What can we learn from Ignatius? We can learn that it is not learning but humble obedience to the Lord that matters - doing His will. That compassion for others, loving them as we find them that builds the bridges to faith. As Cardinal-Bishop Jacques de Vitry said of the friars in 1216 "one loving heart sets another heart on fire." Ignatius loved hearts into a flame for God. We can do that too.