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.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

December 6 -- Feast of Saint Obitius

It is a good thing that the Dominicans and Franciscans created tertiary orders.  Otherwise every person who experienced a vocation or a conversion experience of some sort would wind up like Saint Obitius. 
Reliquary of Obitius
The son of Governor Gratiadeus of Valcamonica, Obitius married a countess named Inglissenda Porro.  Together, they had four children: Jacopo, Berta, Margherita, and Maffeo.  Obitius had enough religious inspiration to put Saint Margaret on his shield, but as a cavalry officer, he put the shield to its intended use.  During the war between Cremona and Brescia, he was leading a charge against the retreating Bergamasci. When the weight of retreating and advancing armies on a wooden bridge caused it to collapse, Obitius plunged into the River Oglio.  Being fully armored, he narrowly escaped drowning. 

As he fought for his life, he caught a glimpse of the torments of Hell.  Having experienced the Inferno, even just for a minute, he determined that he would repent and dedicate his life to the service of God.  This of course made things tough on Inglissenda and the kids.  To begin with, he felt compelled to give up all his worldly wealth, impoverishing them as well as himself.  Then he decided to enter a monastery, cutting them off from him.  They tried to talk him out of it, but having seen the Lake of Fire, he was resolute. 

The whole monastic thing worked out pretty well.  Miracles were attributed to him.  Two of his kids (Margherita and Maffeo) also wound up in monasteries.  His grave bubbled up with holy liquid, following which his relics were transferred to the church of Saint Maurice in Niardo. 

Fortunately, Francis and Dominic invented another way.  One may remain a layman but dedicate his (or her) life and work to the service of God.  Inglissenda Porro might have lost her husband and her home, but the spouses of later vocations need not suffer the same. 

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