March 22, 2014

Blessed Didacus Joseph of Cadiz

Feast Day : 5th January

Almost Too Stupid to Become a Capuchin !

Brother Didacus Joseph was so poor at his studies that even the Capuchins, who were never noted for their intellectual prowess, were slow to receive him into the Order. Yet he would go on to persuasively argue against the ideology of Enlightenment atheism prevalent in many university circles at the time. He was born into a noble family at Cadiz on the 30th of March 1743 and baptized Joseph Francis John Mary LΓ³pez-CaamaΓ±o y GarcΓ­a-PΓ©rez.

The Brothers’ Liturgical Chant Sows the Seed of his Vocation

According to one of his letters, he entered the church of the city's Capuchin friary at the age of 13 and hearing the friars chant the liturgy of the hours he was so filled with joy that he decided to become a Capuchin, The following year, on the 12th of November 1757 he was clothed with the habit at Seville and on the 31st of March 1757 he began his yearlong novitiate, receiving the religious name of Didacus Joseph.  

A Popular Preacher who Avoided Fancy Words

Ordained a priest on the 24th of May 1766, he was soon able to pursue his dream of preaching the Gospel to the people. From 1768 till the end of his life Brother Didacus Joseph of Cadiz went about Spain, preaching to vast crowds during parish missions, lenten retreats and novenas. So effective was his method of evangelization that he soon became one of Spain's best known preachers. The Holy Spirit listened to his long and ardent prayers for help during the time that he spoke and guided him. Brother Didacus Joseph's preaching style was simple without flowery language or sophisticated argument. Everyone marvelled at his powerful and persuasive and sweet words, and the lives of many of his listeners were changed due to his preaching. In his preaching he promoted devotion to the Mother of the Good Shepherd and to the Most Holy Trinity.  In fact people of his time called him the “Apostle of the Holy Trinity.” 

Dying on the Job

Having preached his umpteenth popular mission at Malaga in 1799, he crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and went to preach in Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in North Africa. He died at Ronda in Spain on the 24th of March 1801.  He was beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1894.

"In my ministry, I shun any kind of artifice, because this constitutes an obstacle to the attention, sincerity and simplicity with which God wants us to propose his Divine Word." - Blessed Didacus Joseph of Cadiz.

Related Post