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Friday, June 4, 2010

Saint Peter the Martyr

St. Peter the Martyr, also called St. Peter of Verona, is one of too many saints that no longer receive the remembrance that is greatly deserved. He is the Dominican protomartyr and the fastest papally canonized saint of the Church.

The Dominican Ordo for 2010 designates today as his memorial. His feast on the Extraordinary Calendar is 29 April. St. Catherine of Siena died on 29 April but was given the 30th because St. Peter the Martyr already had the 29th. In the “reformed” 1969 calendar, St. Peter the Martyr was bumped off the calendar by St. Catherine as she was moved back by one day.

St. Peter was born 1205 or 1206. The fact that he was born to parents that were heretical Cathars is proof of his divine love for truth and Orthodoxy. In such an atmosphere where his own family ridiculed his orthodoxy, his life was destined to be sacrificed for the faith!

He received the Dominican habit from St. Dominic, himself. He was a mystic that was visited by saints and angels, a gift for which he had to do penance for. On one occasion having celestial visitors in his cell, a passing monk heard female voices coming from his room. This led to his being accused of admitting females within the enclosure, to the great scandal of the house. The Saint said not a word in his own justification, but humbly accepted the severe penance imposed on him.

He became a very active and noted preacher in Northern Italy. His sermons were often complemented by miraculous signs of all kinds including casting out devils and healing the sick. Every day at the elevation of the Mass St. Peter prayed, Grant, Lord, that I may die for Thee, who for me didst die.

Pope Innocent IV made him inquisitor of Lombardy in 1232. It is said that wherever he appeared there was universal renunciation of errors and heresies. So great was his success to bringing those in error back to the Church that it’s no wonder the wrath of heretics was so violent towards him. He was attacked by assassins on the road between Milan and Como in 1252. His martyrdom had been mystically revealed to him and he approached happily. One of his assassins was so affected by the saint’s holy martyrdom that he entered the Order of Preachers, himself, and remained for forty years.

Saint Peter was canonized by Pope Innocent IV in the piazza outside the Dominican Church at Perugia, less than a year after his martyrdom.


Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that we may imitate with due devotion the faith of Blessed Peter, Thy Martyr, who, for the extension of that same faith, was made worthy to obtain the palm of martyrdom. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


death of st peter the martyr


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