21 July St. Lawrence of Brindisi: “Forward!” he cried, showing them the crucifix, “Victory is ours.”

Today on both sides of the Roman Rite we celebrate a Bishop and Doctor of the Church, St. Lawrence of Brindisi.

Know much about him?

I like this story about him from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

It was on the occasion of the foundation of the convent of Prague (1601) that St. Lorenzo was named chaplain of the Imperial army, then about to march against the Turks. The victory of Lepanto (1571) had only temporarily checked the Moslem invasion, and several battles were still necessary to secure the final triumph of the Christian armies. Mohammed III had, since his accession (1595), conquered a large part of Hungary. The emperor, determined to prevent a further advance, sent Lorenzo of Brindisi as deputy to the German princes to obtain their cooperation. They responded to his appeal, and moreover the Duke of Mercœur, Governor of Brittany, joined the imperial army, of which he received the effective command. The attack on Albe-Royal (now Stulweissenburg) was then contemplated. To pit 18,000 men against 80,000 Turks was a daring undertaking and the generals, hesitating to attempt it, appealed to Lorenzo for advice. Holding himself responsible for victory, he communicated to the entire army in a glowing speech the ardour and confidence with which he was himself animated. As his feebleness prevented him from marching, he mounted on horseback and, crucifix in hand, took the lead of the army, which he drew irresistibly after him. Three other Capuchins were also in the ranks of the army. Although the most exposed to danger, Lorenzo was not wounded, which was universally regarded as due to a miraculous protection. The city was finally taken, and the Turks lost 30,000 men. As however they still exceeded in numbers the Christian army, they formed their lines anew, and a few days later another battle was fought. It always the chaplain who was at the head of the army. “Forward!” he cried, showing them the crucifix, “Victory is ours.” The Turks were again defeated, and the honour of this double victory was attributed by the general and the entire army to Lorenzo.

Let Pope Benedict tell you something more

Here is what the Martyrologium Romanum has:

Sancti Laurentii de Brundusio, presbyteri et Ecclesiae doctoris, inter Fratres Minores Capuccinos adscriptus, praedicandi munere in Europae regionibus indefesse functus est, tum pro Ecclesia defensione adversus infideles, tum in reconciliandis principibus, tum in Ordinis sui moderatione, omnia munera explens simplicitate et humilitate.  Die vero vigesimo secundo iulii Ulyssipone in Lusitania obiit.

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Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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13 Responses to 21 July St. Lawrence of Brindisi: “Forward!” he cried, showing them the crucifix, “Victory is ours.”

  1. Tom in NY says:

    “The feast of St. Lawrence of Brindisi, priest and doctor of the church. From among the Capuchin Franciscans, he was assigned and worked tirelessly in the preaching ministry in European regions. He worked for the Church in defense against the Muslims, in diplomacy, and in the administration of his Order, fulfilling all his ministries in simplicity and humility. He died at Lisbon, Portugal on 22nd July.”

    I don’t think I got too far away. Indefesse seemed an adverb (even after consulting L & S) and reconciliare principes is what diplomats do. Evidently, he had collected his own diplomas. After all those Bible papers at Padua and elsewhere, I’m confident he could quote chapter and verse.
    Ut dicitur, lingua latina una sententia, anglica tres loquitur.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  2. Supertradmum says:

    If the Pope called a Crusade today, would any men come?

  3. Supertradmum: There are fewer men now.

  4. DetJohn says:

    I grew up in St. Lawrence of Brindisi parish, staffed by Capuchin Fathers, in the Watts section of Los Angeles, Ca. In the 1940′s & 1950′s we had a militan attitude for our faith.

    Today, the Capuchins have whimped out on the Military aspect of St. Lawrence vs the Muslim invasion of Europe. It is a Historical Fact that is hardly mentioned and in not detail as listed in Fr.Z’s posting.

    Today we have millions of males, Fr. Z is right in that fewer men now.

  5. HighMass says:

    Every time I hear this HOLY POPE speak, I marvel at what GOD has given the faithful in this Wonderful Pope….we are so fortunate to have him…..GOD in Heaven please watch over him and let us have him as our dear POPE for many Years……


  6. Clinton R. says:

    Now a interfaith prayer service would be called for instead. The Militant aspect of the Church Militant is largely gone nowadays.

  7. Jack Regan says:

    I might be wrong about this (happens a lot!) but I think there is a relic of St. Lawrence in the alter in my parish.

    Great man :)

  8. asperges says:

    I would suggest:

    “(Feast of) St Laurence of Brindisi, priest and doctor of the Church, listed in the ranks of the Capuchin friars minor. Throughout Europe, a tireless and gifted preacher, he worked as much for the defence of the Church against the Infidel as for the concord of princes, still overseeing the rule of his Order. He carried out all his duties with humble simplicity. On the 22nd of July he died in Lisbon, Portugal.”

  9. Supertradmum says:

    Father Z., many single women and myself have noticed this. God bless you.

  10. fvhale says:

    @detjohn. Neither Los Angeles nor the Church are what they were in the 40s and 50s. But God still moves, even after the firestorm of the Watts Riots and years of blight. The school and parish of Lawrence of Brindisi are poor, but growing in the faith and love of God. And a young Capuchin friar, whom I met some years ago as a college freshman, and who was ordained this summer, is the most recent Capuchin to face the challenges of that place with great faith, love and the gentleness of a good shepherd. God is faithful, and the Capuchins are still there, through all the challenges .

  11. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Nobody mentioned that St. Lawrence is the original honoree of the drink Cappuccino!

    There are plenty of men today. Mr. McQuinn, one of the young men shot in Aurora, died shielding his girlfriend with his body. He wasn’t in the military or the police; he was just a kid from Springfield, Ohio, who worked retail at Target. But he was a man and a hero.

  12. The general response among Capuchins to Muslims is to follow St. Francis who went in peace to preach the Gospel to them and bring them to Christ (I know Capuchins who work in Islamic countries both officially and unofficially). But to be fair to St. Lawrence (our only Doctor so far) he was perhaps more concerned with saving Europe than with converting the infidel. I don’t know that there are fewer men around today – I know plenty who are admirable. I think it is not a want of manliness but a want of a challenge. Perhaps it is the ‘feminization’ of the West. Perhaps it is that the rise of technology and other cultural and social changes have made traditional masculine values seem archaic but I think it is the want of a leader, a St. Lawrence, or better still Christ, to lead them to manly heroism.

  13. Gus Barbarigo says:

    Franciscan martyrs Saint Nicholas Tavelic and Companions were “man enough” to tell anyone, even the Saracens, that one *must* follow the Gospel (to fully embrace the truth and receive eternal life):


    It’s heartening to learn of St. Lawrence, as one more military saint.