St Vincent Ferrer

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Friar. St Vincent Ferrer was born in Valencia in Spain, in 1357. His father was an Englishman, married to a Spanish lady. At the age of 18 he joined the Dominican friars and soon became known as a powerful preacher. In 1390, he accompanied Cardinal Pedro de Luna to France.

When de Luna become Pope at Avignon in 1394, he summoned St Vincent and made him master of the papal palace. St Vincent made great efforts to put an end to the great schism - the time where there was several claimant to the papacy. He was offered many church honours, but refused them all.

During his final years he devoted himself to preaching in Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Flanders, England, Scotland, and Ireland. St Vincent was such a charismatic speaker, people would follow him from place to place and he helped many discover Christianity - including the Jewish Rabbi Paul, who became Bishop of Cartegena.

He was even asked to preach in Granada which was a Moslem city.

St Vincent lived to see the end of the great schism and the election of Pope Martin V. He died during a preaching tour of Brittany on this day in 1419. He is the patron saint of builders - because he is said to have helped to build the church.

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