On 23rd January
1350 Vincente was born. His father William Stuart Ferrer was an Anglo/Scottish
nobleman, who had descended from both the Anglo de Ferrer family
and the Scottish Stuart family.
took himself a Spanish wife, Constantia Miguel, Vincente's
mother. The couple moved to Valencía where Vincentee
was born, in the Kingdom of Valencía, modern day Region
of Valencía. Perhaps his birth was difficult and he
wasn't expected to survive because Vincente was baptised the
same day he was born. The family didn't have a name for him,
so the priest who baptised him, named him for St. Vincent
Martyr, the patron saint of Valencía.
At a very
early age Vincente was drawn to a religious life. He was professed
in the Order of Saint Dominic at the age of 18, and after
studying, became Master of Sacred Theology. He excelled in
academics and began lecturing on philosophy before he reached
the age 21.
Vincente was ordained and he soon earned his Doctorate in
Theology at Lleida, the main university city of Catalonia
at the time. He was recognised a writer and theologian and
earned reputations as an effective preacher. In 1379 he was
appointed Prior of the Dominican house in Valencía.
was offered the post of Bishop but declined, sensing that
he was the messenger of penance sent to prepare men for the
judgement. He considered himself a sinner in need of God's
mercy and his sermons stressed forgiveness and repentance
in preparation for the final judgement.
was touched by the Great Western Schism, this was a period
when the Pope's authority was challenged by rivals in France.
In 1394 Vincente was drawn into the controversy when he was
summoned to serve as adviser to his good friend Cardinal Peter
de Luna upon the Cardinal's appointment as the new Antipope*.
At the age of
40, Vincente became gravely ill; it is believed he was profoundly
depressed because of the Great Schism. Appearing through a vision,
St. Dominic accompanied by St. Francis of Assisi, comforted him.
Then came Jesus himself, in the midst of a great host of angels.
Touching Vincente on the cheek, Jesus told him to rise and preach
the Last Judgement. Miraculously, Vincente emerged completely cured.
The mark of Our Lord's sacred fingers on his cheek remained with
him for the rest of his life
years, he was said to have travelled, preaching the gospel and converting
many sinners. Thousands were moved by his words and the miracles
he performed. He was tremendously successful, and many thousands
were converted to Christianity by him. He was especially interested
in converting the Spanish Jews and Muslims.
in Limousin, the language of his native Valencía, yet miraculously
he was understood in all tongues: Germans, Greeks, Sardinians, Italians,
and English, they understood him perfectly. For twenty years his
efforts brought him to evangelise nearly every province of Spain.
Everywhere he went, tens of thousands of sinners were reformed;
infidels and heretics were converted, and great miracles supported
his words. He also went to France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany,
Flanders, England, Scotland and Ireland. He was even invited to
Mohammedan Granada where he converted almost 8,000 Muslims into
Christianity. Even the Caliph was interested, but when his nobles
threatened him with civil war he reluctantly asked Vincente to leave.
much time preaching to Jews regarding the fulfilment of Hebrew prophecy
in Christ. Vincente helped to put down an uprising against the Jews
in Valencía in 1391 and he also diffused a later persecution
in Toledo. Sephardic Jews erected monuments to him throughout Spain.
Ranzano, his first biographer, estimates that he brought 25,000
Jews into the Christianity. At Valladolid he helped a rabbi to become
complete in the Catholic faith; the rabbi later became well known
as Bishop Paul of Burgos. Once when Vincente entered a synagogue
with a cross in his hand, surprising the Jews inside, he made such
a moving a sermon that afterwards the Jews desired baptism and changed
their synagogue into a church which they called "The Holy Cross."
One of the Miracles
for what St. Vincente is revered happened because of a chance meeting
of the corpse of a man who had been murdered, the body was being
carried on a bier. In the presence of a multitude, St. Vincente commanded
the deceased man to rise, which he instantly did. It is said that
a wooden cross was erected on the spot as a monument that can still
Some of those
converted by Vincente joined the Grande Chartreuse, mother house
of the Carthusian Order near Grenoble, where his brother was Prior.
Vincente is well
known in Spain for his intervention during the political discussion
known as the "Caspe Compromise", a debate by which the
succession of the King of Aragon was solved by giving the throne
to a Castilian prince: this would later help the union of the crowns
of Castile and Aragon, today seen as Spain's territory.
life was severely harsh and austere, and his followers were inspired
to imitate his austerities. The floor was his usual bed and he perpetually
fasted, he arose at two in the morning to chant the Office, he celebrated
Mass daily, afterwards he preached, sometimes for three hours, and
he frequently worked miracles. After his midday meal he would tend
to sick children; at eight o'clock he prepared his sermon for the
following day. Wherever he travelled: it was on foot, poorly clad,
carrying a large cross.
the age 70, and still at the height of his mission, Vincente fell
ill with a fever. In Vannes, Brittany, on April 5, 1419, he passed
into Heaven. His relics are buried in the Cathedral of Vannes.
On June 3, 1455,
St. Vincente was canonised by Pope Calixtus III at the Dominican
Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva.
Today his feast
day is celebrated on the 5th of April.
antipope is a person claiming to be Pope who was not duly elected
or proclaimed because an elected Pope was still in office. To
begin with, it is vital to understand that there is no power on
earth which may depose a Pope. Any duly elected Pope remains therefore
in office until he dies or resigns (as has happened just seven
times). Anyone, who claims to be Pope while an elected Pope is
living and has not resigned, is an antipope).