Historic and Inspirational Stories of the Blessed Sacrament with Prayers
FR. FREDERICK A. REUTER, K.C.B.S.
with Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat,
Feast of the Assumption, 1922
ST. PASCHAL BAYLON,
SAINT OF THE EUCHARIST
Feast Day: May 17
VIEW AN IMAGE OF THE SAINT
THANKS mainly to his fellow religious, superior and biographer, Father
Ximenes, we are well informed regarding St. Paschal's early days. He was
born at Torre Hermosa, on the borders of Castile and Aragon, on a Whitsunday
[another name for Pentecost], and seems to owe his Christian name to this,
for in Spain, as well as in Italy, the term Pascua is given to other great
Feasts of the year besides Easter. So the little son born to Martin Baylon
and his wife Elizabeth Jubera was called Pascual.
From his seventh to his twenty-fourth year Paschal, first as the deputy
of his own father, and then serving other employers, led the life of a
shepherd. When about eighteen he first sough admission among the barefooted
Friars Minor, St. Peter of Alcántara, the author of the reform,
was still living. Probably the friars of the Loreto convent, knowing nothing
of the young shepherd who came from a district two hundred miles away,
doubted his fortitude. At any rate, they put him off, but when admitted
him some few years later, they soon realized that God had committed a treasure
to their keeping. The community lived at the level of the first fervor
of the reform, but brother Paschal even in this ascetical atmosphere was
recognized as being eminent in every religious virtue.
It is, however, as the Saint of the Eucharist that Saint Paschal is
best remembered outside his own country. The long hours which he spent
before the Tabernacle, kneeling without support, his clasped hands held
up in front of, or higher than, his face, had left a deep impression upon
his brethren/ He was on one occasion sent into France as the bearer of
an important communication to Father Christopher de Cheffontaines, the
very learned Breton scholar who at that time was the minister general of
the Observants. For a friar wearing the habit of his Order the journey
across France at that time, when the wars of religion had reached their
most acute phase, was extremely dangerous. He succeeded in his mission,
but was handled very roughly; several times he barely escaped with his
life. At one town in particular, where he was stoned by a party of Huguenots,
he seems to have sustained an injury to his shoulder which was a cause
of suffering for the rest of his days.
St. Paschal died, as he was born, on Pentecost, in the friary at Villareal.
He was fifty-two years old. It was held to be significant of his life-long
devotion to the Blessed Sacrament that, with the holy name of Jesus on
his lips, he passed just as the bell was tolling to announce the Consecration
at High Mass. He was canonized in 1690.
BUTLER'S LIVES OF THE SAINTS, Edited by Michael Walsh, Harper
1956, With Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat.
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