Blessed Benedict of Urbino


Feast Day : 30th April 


"If I am thrown out one door, I will come back in by another."

Although the process of entering the Capuchin order is on the whole a very fair one, sometimes having powerful backing can also be of help. At any rate, this was the what happened in the case of one famous Capuchin novice. During the novitiate he was almost dismissed form the Order due to health problems but he protested strongly saying "If I am thrown out one door, I will come back in by another." And so he prayed hard and his illness was cured. But there were many doubts about whether he would be able to make profession or not. His Provincial Minister saw him as a consumptive and judged him unable to live the tough life of a Capuchin professed religious. The majority of Brothers in the Local Fraternity also deemed him unsuitable and voted against him. His Novice Master, however, advised him to send to the General Minister, petitioning him to permit him make profession. And the General Minister, who knew the Novice Master well, granted the permission. And so the Novice who was able to profess his vows as a Capuchin, is known far and wide in the Capuchin Order today as Blessed Benedict of Urbino.  


Forsakes Life at Court to Join the Capuchins

Descended from a noble lineage, the future Brother Benedict of Urbino - Mark Passionei was born to Dominic Passionei and Magdalen Cibo in Urbino, Italy on the 13th of September 1560. He was the seventh of their eleven children. Having studied at Perugia and Padua he was conferred with a Doctorate in Civil and Canon Law at the relatively young age of 22 in 1582. After graduation, he went to work at the court of Cardinal Peter Jerome Albani in Rome but soon gave up his career, disgusted by the court lifestyle. 

After returning to the Marche region, he applied to join the Order of Capuchin Friars Minor. In 1884, he was given the religious name 'Benedict' and began his novitiate at the Novitiate Friary of Saint Christina at Fano. Within a few months he had to be transferred to the Capuchin Friary at Fossombrone due to ill health. Despite his health problems, Brother Benedict eventually came to make his profession in May 1585 by the special permission of the General Minister.


Pioneer Missionary

Ordained a priest in 1590, he dedicated himself enthusiastically to the ministry of preaching. He usually preferred to preach in small remote country villages but was sometimes prevailed upon to preach also in larger cities such as Pesaro, Urbino and Genoa. In 1600 the General Minister, Brother Jerome of Castelferretti sent him as a missionary to Bohemia (the present day Czech Republic), where, as a member of the missionary team headed by Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, he bolstered the Catholic faith life of that country's inhabitants. 


Falls Fatally Ill while Preaching

He returned to his own Province in 1602 and from then on was active in the Capuchin Friaries of Fano, Jesi, Fossombrone, Cagli, Pesaro and Urbino as a preacher, a superior, a simple Brother, or a questor.

While preaching at Saccocorvaro during Lent 1625, he had to undergo hernia surgery and he died happily on the 30th of April 1625. He was 65 years old and had completed 41 years in Religious Life. In 1867 Blessed Pope Pius IX beatified Brother Benedict. 

"Let us honour the saints of the Lord. One cannot satisfy both the soul and the body. It is necessary that one should perish. But if one is to perish, let the body perish." - Blessed Benedict of Urbino


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