Saturday, 17 December 2016

# Saints

Saint John of Matha

A John of Matha Saint sculpture from Mafra Palace, Portugal, main entrance
The 17th of December is the feast day of Saint John of Matha or Martha. Saint John of Matha was born in 1154 near Provence, France. His parents were noble and pious and they dedicated Saint John to God from his birth. He tended the sick and gave alms to the poor and advanced in Christian virtue. He studied theology at the University of Paris which helped discerned his called to Holy Orders and he became a priest. He had a vision on the day of his first Mass which compelled him to be devoted to ransoming Christians captured by Muslims and forced into slavery. He fasted and prayed and went to Rome to gain the Pope's approval for his new religious order that would be dedicated to this purpose. Pope Innocent III ordered a fast and concluded that Saint John's mission was inspired by God. The Order of the Holy Trinity, or the Hospitaler Order of the Most Holy Trinity and of Captives (Trinatirians) gained approval from the Pope. The habit of the order was a white scapular with a two-toned blue and red cross on the chest which was inspired by the vision. The Trinatarians collected alms and traveled to the Moors to ransom and encourage Christian captives. He died in 1213.

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