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, April 4, 2013

April 4 -- Feast of Blessed Guglielmo Cufitella of Scicli

dangerous sport
Guglielmo, or William as he's known in English, was a fouteenth century Franciscan tertiary living in Sicily.  He started out as a courtier to King Frederick of Sicily, and lived the life of relative material comfort that should go with that job.  Then a fortunate brush with mortality shifted things for him.

He was hunting with Freddie and the boys, but the quarry became the attacker.  A boar turned on the King and threatened to kill him.  Guglielmo was quick to defend his lord, but was himself gravely injured in return.  Most folks thought he was going to die, but Saint Agatha appeared to him and told him to get his lazy bones out of bed.  She further admonished him to abandon the royal court and adopt a more holy lifestyle. 

He got up and went to see King Fred, who, astonished and still grateful, asked what he might grant in return.  With a lifetime's contemplation reduced to one moment of clarity, Guglielmo asked that he might be released from the King's service.  He wished to become a monk or hermit, spending his days perfecting his spirit and honoring the Lord. The King could hardly refuse -- in fact, he threw in a horse and a little money for good measure.  It was probably the cheapest unconditional favor any king ever granted.

Guglielmo made his way to the hermitage of Blessed Conrad of Piacenza, who instructed him in becoming a Franciscan tertiary.  The two men lived near each other, tending to the religious duties of the area, for the remainder of their lives.  For Guglielmo, that was a seventy year run of monking around, concluding with his death on April 4, 1404 (4/4/1404).  Hours before his death, he rose and said farewell to the community.  It might seem like a divine tip-off, but then again, he was 95 years old.  After his death, the church bells tolled of their own accord. 

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