Saturday 28th January 2023

Home » saints » Currently Reading:

Catholic Heroes… St. John Of Capistrano

September 27, 2016 saints No Comments


In Texas there is an old building that is part of the Missions National Historical Park of the National Park Service near San Antonio, Texas. This restored mission was founded in 1731 on the San Antonio River by the Franciscans and named after the soldier saint, St. John of Capistrano.
In San Juan Capistrano, Calif., the Franciscans founded another mission that is the oldest “still in use” building in California. This was a church where the recently canonized saint, Fr. Junipero Serra, celebrated Mass.
For centuries, the swallows would nest in the buildings of this mission which was one of the most ornate missions in the state. Every March 19, on the Feast of St. Joseph, the migratory birds would return to build their nests in the ruins of the chapel which had been destroyed in the 1812 earthquake.
Who is this saint after whom these Franciscan missions were named? St. John, the son of a German knight who had come to Italy in the court of Louis I of Anjou, was born in 1386 in Capistrano, Italy, of the Kingdom of Naples. When John was very young his father died, leaving his mother to tend to his education.
After this education at home, he left to enter the law school at Perugia. Here he made rapid and remarkable progress under the tutelage of Pietro de Ubandis. Ladislaus, the King of Naples, noted the young star and named him to be governor of Perugia at the age of 27. Immediately, John worked to rid the territory of bribery and corruption, winning praise from some and criticism from others.
After four years of his service as governor, the Perugians and the House of Malatesta went to war. The King of Perugia sent John as an ambassador to the House of Malatesta, seeking peace. However, they threw John into prison.
While languishing in the cell, John underwent a conversion which ended his civil career. He had a dream during which St. Francis of Assisi ordered him to join the Franciscans. Although John was married at the time, he received a dispensation to join the religious order since the marriage had not been consummated. He then entered the order officially on the feast of its founder, October 4, 1416. At the age of 30 he began his life of work for the Catholic Church.
Having entered the Franciscans, John embraced their life with great zeal. He followed a rigorous practice of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience with much prayer and many penances. With this spiritual foundation he began his preaching.
He became well known throughout Italy and Europe, traveling to Austria, Hungary, Croatia, and Poland. His popularity necessitated preaching in town squares because none of the churches were large enough to hold the enormous crowds. In fact, in Brescia, Italy, one crowd consisted of over 126,000 persons.
In addition to preaching, John of Capistrano worked closely with St. Bernardine of Siena to reform the Franciscan order. Together they encouraged more disciplined observances as well as urging the friars to practice devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus.
In 1429, the Observant friars with whom John and Bernardine were associated were called to Rome to answer accusations of heresy — one of which was the use of the devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. However, John, who had been selected to represent the friars, pled the case successfully and they were acquitted of all charges.
Even though he was accused of heresy, John preached passionately against all heretical teachings, including those of the Hussites. Between 1450 and 1453, he so enflamed the hearts of the faithful that they would go out and attack all non-Christians or those thought to be heretics.
If not preaching against heresy, John would write against it, one of his special subjects being the supremacy of the Pope over the theological wrangling of general councils.
His reputation soon brought him to the attention of the Popes who called on him to serve as their ambassador. He went to the King of France in 1446 and then in 1451 he visited the emperor of Austria. Likewise, Casimir IV Jagiellon called him to Poland.
Then in 1453, he began his new occupation within the Church which would cause him to be called the soldier saint — fighting the Turks. In that year, Constantinople fell to the brutal Muhammad II, the sultan of Adrianople. Although Pope Nicholas V tried to arouse Europe to fight a crusade against the invaders, hardly any countries saw the need.
Only Hungary understood that the Turks would not settle for conquering only Constantinople. They rightly thought their kingdom would be the next target and gave John Hunyadi the responsibility of defending their land.
When news came to Belgrade of Muhammed II’s approach with 80,000 men, the 16-year-old king of Hungary and his nobles fled the city, leaving Hunyadi with 16,000 men to defend it. John of Capistrano, who had been preaching the crusade in Hungary, soon arrived with 8,000 men who were ill equipped and untrained. Effectively, the odds were 4 to 1 in favor of the Muslims.
The new Pope, Calixtus III, called for all the hierarchy to lead the people in prayer, fasting, and penance for victory. After celebrating Mass, John instructed all priests to avoid fighting in any way. Only after John refused to leave Belgrade, saying he would fight till the last man, did Hunyadi agree to stay and defend the city.
As fighting commenced on July 4, 1456, John raised the crucifix given to him by Pope Calixtus III until the battle was over. The Hungarians repulsed the invaders liberating the Danube River so that the city could be re-supplied.
On July 21, another assault began with Muhammed’s men breaking into the city. The Christians continued to fight and hold firm while John once again held up the crucifix. Through the night the fighting continued, filling the streets with the blood of the dead and dying as John continued to hold his treasure.
The Turks were discouraged and exhausted by the strong Christian resistance of more than 24 hours. John still held the crucifix aloft as the Turks were finally driven from the city. Into the fields beyond they chased the Muslims and captured a few of the 300 cannons that the Turks had brought for the siege and turned them on the enemy.
By evening the Turkish army was retreating from the city and abandoning its camps, saving Hungary. When the Pope heard the news he declared that it was “the happiest day of my life.”
The city of Belgrade was in ruins with thousands of dead to be buried. Disease spread, killing Hunyadi in three days and John three months later. He died in Croatia on October 23, 1456. His feast is celebrated on October 23.
Dear St. John, give us confidence when facing evil. Help us to repulse the attacks on Christianity through prayer, penance, and fasting as well as through strong and wise leaders. Amen.

+ + +

(Carole Breslin home-schooled her four daughters and served as treasurer of the Michigan Catholic Home Educators for eight years. For over ten years, she was national coordinator for the Marian Catechists, founded by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

House Republicans approved 2 #ProLife measures.

The first measure would ban #Abortion on babies born alive and require the babies be given medical care and treatment. The other measure condemned a spurt of growing attacks against crisis pregnancy centers.

House Republicans Pass Pro-Life Bills

House Republicans on Jan. 11 approved two pro-life measures. The first measure passed by the House would ban abortion ...

"I'm afraid that the West will die. There are plenty of signs. You are invaded,still,by other cultures & peoples,who will progressively dominate you by their numbers and change your culture, your convictions, your morality."~ Cardinal Robert Sarah

Load More...

Vatican and USCCB leave transgender policy texts unpublished

While U.S. bishops have made headlines for releasing policies addressing gender identity and pastoral ministry, guidelines on the subject have been drafted but not published by both the U.S. bishops’ conference and the Vatican’s doctrinal office, leaving diocesan bishops to…Continue Reading

Biden says Pope Francis told him to continue receiving communion, amid scrutiny over pro-abortion policies

President Biden said that Pope Francis, during their meeting Friday in Vatican City, told him that he should continue to receive communion, amid heightened scrutiny of the Catholic president’s pro-abortion policies.  The president, following the approximately 90-minute-long meeting, a key…Continue Reading

Federal judge rules in favor of Gov. DeSantis’ mask mandate ban

MIAMI (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge this week handed Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis another legal victory on his mask mandate ban for schools. On Wednesday, Judge K. Michael Moore of the Southern District of Florida denied a petition from…Continue Reading

The Eucharist should not be received unworthily, says Nigerian cardinal

Priests have a duty to remind Catholics not to receive the Eucharist in a state of serious sin and to make confession easily available, a Nigerian cardinal said at the International Eucharistic Congress on Thursday. “It is still the doctrine…Continue Reading

Donald Trump takes a swipe at Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him

Donald Trump complained about Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him in 2020. The former president made the comments in a conference call featuring religious leaders. The move could be seen to shore up his religious conservative base…Continue Reading

Y Gov. Kathy Hochul Admits Andrew Cuomo Covered Up COVID Deaths, 12,000 More Died Than Reported

When it comes to protecting people from COVID, Andrew Cuomo is already the worst governor in America. New York has the second highest death rate per capita, in part because he signed an executive order putting COVID patients in nursing…Continue Reading

Prayers For Cardinal Burke . . . U.S. Cardinal Burke says he has tested positive for COVID-19

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said he has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. In an Aug. 10 tweet, he wrote: “Praised be Jesus Christ! I wish to inform you that I have recently…Continue Reading

Democrats Block Amendment Banning Late-Term Abortions, Stopping Abortions Up to Birth

Senate Democrats have blocked an amendment that would ban abortions on babies older than 20 weeks. During consideration of the multi-trillion spending package, pro-life Louisiana Senator John Kennedy filed an amendment to ban late-term abortions, but Democrats steadfastly support killing…Continue Reading

Transgender student wins as U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs bathroom appeal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to a transgender former public high school student who waged a six-year legal battle against a Virginia county school board that had barred him from using the bathroom corresponding…Continue Reading

New York priest accused by security guard of assault confirms charges have now been dropped

NEW YORK, June 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A New York priest has made his first public statement regarding the dismissal of charges against him.  Today Father George W. Rutler reached out to LifeSiteNews and other media today with the following…Continue Reading

21,000 sign petition protesting US Catholic bishops vote on Biden, abortion

More than 21,000 people have signed a letter calling for U.S. Catholic bishops to cancel a planned vote on whether President Biden should receive communion.  Biden, a Catholic, supports abortion rights and has long come under attack from some Catholics over that…Continue Reading

Bishop Gorman seeks candidates to fill two full time AP level teaching positions for the 2021-2022 school year in the subject areas of Calculus/Statistics and Physics

Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Regional Catholic School is a college preparatory school located in Tyler, Texas. It is an educational ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler led by Bishop Joseph Strickland. The sixth through twelfth grade school provides a…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1


Today . . .

Catholic journalist George Neumayr dies in Africa

COTE D’IVOIRE (LifeSiteNews) – George Neumayr, an author and journalist who fearlessly exposed corruption in the Catholic Church, died of malaria last night. He was 50. He had been in Africa since December 26, 2022, studying Christianity there and “what the Church in the West could learn from it, both good and bad,” according to his journalism fund updates and several articles he wrote from the former French colony.

Cardinal Müller slams Pope Francis’ ‘political’ laicization of Fr. Pavone

ROME (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Gerhard Müller strongly defended Fr. Frank Pavone and slammed Pope Francis’ laicization of the renowned pro-life priest in an exclusive interview with LifeSiteNews. Cardinal Müller, the former head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the top Vatica

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI dies at Age 95

Funeral Mass to be held January 5.

Cardinals block appointment of Heiner Wilmer as Prefect of the DDF

Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer, the prefect for the Doctrine of the Faith who was still in office, had received his mandate in an unexpected way in the summer of 2017. Until then, the Spanish Jesuit had been secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, i.e. the right hand of the prefect. At the time, the prefect was still Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the former bishop of Regensburg, whom Pope Benedict XVI had appointed…Continue Reading

Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic . . . Bold Steps Needed To Address Illegal Immigration

By STEPHEN M. KRASON One of the ways in which the rule of law has been utterly flouted by the Biden administration has been its unwillingness to seriously enforce U.S. immigration law. In fact, the current crisis at the southern border is largely due to Biden’s signaling, as soon as he took office, that people…Continue Reading

McCarrick’s Lawyers Say He’s Not Competent To Stand Trial

By JOE BUKURAS MDEDHAM, Mass. (CNA) — Former cardinal Theodore McCarrick is in “significant” mental decline and may not be fit to stand trial for allegedly sexually abusing a 16-year-old boy, his attorneys say in a new court filing. The legal team for the 92-year-old ex-prelate said it plans to file a motion to dismiss…Continue Reading

Pregnancy Is Not A Disease… No One Could Observe This In Contemporary America

By R.T. NEARY “Follow the science” has been the mandate since 2019 in this once-united nation that is still officially entitled The United States of America. “Experts” have been featured on TV screens voicing this as Gospel.Public dialogue has centered on the reality of a threat posed by a living organism present in our environment.…Continue Reading

Death Of Cardinal George Pell

By RAYMOND CARDINAL BURKE With the sudden death of Cardinal George Pell, the Church has lost the earthly company of a wise, loving, joyful, and courageous shepherd. I have lost the earthly company of a good friend and example in the Sacred College of Cardinals. Having visited at length with Cardinal Pell on the afternoon…Continue Reading

Joining The Communion Of Saints

By DONALD DeMARCO Clare Boothe Luce (1903-1987) was truly a Renaissance woman. She won a seat in Congress and held an ambassadorship. She was the managing editor of Vanity Fair. As an author, her writings extended from drama and screen scenarios to fiction, journalism, and war reportage. As a pro-life stalwart, she wrote for The…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. When Joseph and Mary came to the inn in Bethlehem, the innkeeper said that there was no room and told them to “go on.” That night an angel of the Lord came to Joseph in his dream and said, “It is you who shall go on and on.” Is this true? — J.B., Pennsylvania.A. Not according to the Gospel…Continue Reading

New Book By Ganswein On BXVI

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Part 2 Upon his death we shared the witness that Pope Benedict lived in the words he uttered. Archbishop Georg Ganswein’s book Nothing But the Truth recounting his life with the great Pope is now out in bookstores. Here I share some vignettes of that volume from an advance unofficial English translation.In October 1978 the…Continue Reading

Basics Of Christian Anthropology

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE Part 1 (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope posted this article on January 13 and it is reprinted here with permission.) + + Anthropology is, most simply, the science or study of human beings through time and space. Different specialties focus on the analysis of biological/physiological characteristics and the examination of societies/cultures. In the religious sense, anthropology…Continue Reading

Grace And Humility

BY FR. ROBERT ALTIER Fourth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Zeph. 2:3, 3:12-131 Cor. 1:26-31Matt. 5:1-12a In the first reading today, the Lord calls all the humble of the Earth to seek Him. Interestingly, He then calls them to seek justice and humility with the hope that they would be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: This series on the Bible is from the book Catholicism & Scripture. Please feel free to use the series for high schoolers or adults. We will continue to welcome your questions for the column as well. See the contact information at the end of this column. Special Course On Catholicism And Scripture (Chapter 11) Following the path of…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Peter Damian

By DEB PIROCH For those in search of a night free of insomnia, it’s said those with a clean conscience sleep blissfully. Yet, many of us know it is not quite that easy to vanquish insomnia and in truth, the longer one tries, the less one is inclined to fall sleep. At the least it can be exhausting, at the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Dunstan

By DEB PIROCH Before St. Thomas Becket, the saint most likely to be invoked by an Englishman was St. Dunstan. He was successively appointed the abbot of Glastonbury, the bishop of Worcester, the bishop of London, archbishop of Canterbury and later, the bishop of Winchester. Additionally, he was related to at least one archbishop and three bishops; perhaps being a…Continue Reading