This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

October 8 -- Feast of Blessed Ambrogio Sansedoni

We're swinging wildly between the non-miraculous saints and beati of the twentieth century -- those who earned their spots in the Canon through heroic faith, service, and devotion -- and the fantastically miraculous saints and beati of the earlier eras.  Ambrogio belongs in the latter category.

Miracle the First: Deformity cured through precocious prayer.  

The infant Ambrogio was so monstrously ugly that his mother handed him off to a nurse and declined to show much interest in him.  Further, he was so colicky that he never seemed to stop howling, except when the nurse took him to church.  There, especially at the altar with the saints' relics, he would be content.  Of course he still caused distress to others just by being that ugly. 

The nurse took him to church often, just so he would be quiet.  To keep other parishioners from being distracted, she draped a scarf over his misshapen little face.  One day as she did this, an unknown pilgrim walked up and told her not to cover him up because he would one day be the glory of Siena.  She took his word for it, and a couple days later the homely little tyke stretched out his twisted little arm and croaked, "Jesus." Sure enough, his bones and joints straightened and all the uglies fell off him like water from a loon.  

Miracle the Second: Precocious piety

Watch the birdie. 
At age two, he was given the choice of his father's books; he chose a book of saints.  Most little kids get up to pee in the night; he got up to pray.  He prayed daily, including the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin, without being prompted.  He was so accustomed to a charitable, Christian life that by age seventeen, he was resolved to enter the Order of Dominicans, even though his dad would have preferred some other career.

Career Interlude

He studied in Paris and Cologne, a classmate of Thomas Aquinas and Pope Blessed Innocent V.  He had aspired to be a writer until he read what Thomas Aquinas was writing; then he gave up and decided to be a preacher instead.  He evangelized throughout Europe and conducted diplomatic missions for popes and kings.  In short, he was kind of a big deal.

Miracle the Third: Revelations of God's Favor

That's him on the left.  Note the bird flitting past.
Sometimes it's nice to have your boss affirm your work publicly.  It lets everyone know you're earning your keep.  Ambrogio's visions and ecstasies were nice, but they were private matters, hard to verify as an independent observer.  His levitation, however, was pretty easy to spot as the favor of God.  Further, the massive halo that sometimes engulfed him, through which brilliantly colored birds darted and flitted, was a solid indicator. 

By the way, last year on 10/8 we celebrated Saint Pelagia the Penitent, linked on her name.  The post may not be brilliant, but her story is fascinating.  I've added her picture to the original post. 


  1. I am researching St Ambrose of Siena so any hep with locating his sermons, erc. Would be great.

  2. says that no copies of his sermons are extant. I have no idea how authoritative that site is. Can anyone out there help Metro Dennis?