During this month of May, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity focus fittingly on Franciscan Saint Paschal Baylon. His parents named him Paschal because he was born on the feast of Pentecost in the year 1540 at Torre Hermosa, Spain. As providence would have it, he also died on the feast of Pentecost.
As a child, he was attentive and obedient to his parents and had a zeal for doing good. While tending the cattle, and watching the sheep, he grew in strength and responsibility, characteristics any parents would want for their children. God called him to consecrated life as a lay brother among the Friars Minor at Monteforte.
Saint Paschal of Baylon was humble and cheerfully assumed the most burdensome duties. He was also very devoted to prayer. Paschal fostered special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and to the Blessed Sacrament. The Eucharist proved a constant means to rekindle his zeal to love God and others. He died in 1592 at the age of fifty-two.
A few other interesting tidbits:
- At the time of his death, the body of St Paschal Baylon was intentionally covered in lime in an attempt to rapidly destroy his remains. This was done so that there would be no offensive odor from the decomposing body when the crowds viewed his body. Miraculously, the lime had no effect. The grave was later exhumed and the body found preserved.
- Pope Paul V beautified Paschal. Pope Alexander VIII canonized him in 1690. Later, in 1897 Pope Leo XIII announced Saint Paschal of Baylon the patron of all Eucharistic societies and congresses.