Patron of Eucharistic Congresses
Born at Torre Hermosa in the Kingdom of Aragon, in the year 1540, St. Paschal Baylon spent his early childhood as a shepherd. So great was his desire for instruction that while tending his sheep he carried a book with him and begged those he met to reach him the alphabet. Thus, in a short time he learned to read.
Paschal led the solitary life of a shepherd until he was about twenty-four. By meditation, prayer, and the reading of pious works, he advanced rapidly in perfection, so that he decided to embrace the religious state and petitioned the Franciscans to admit him into their Order, he had already reached an eminent degree of sanctity. When he decided to become a Religious, he purposely avoided rich monasteries, for he said, “I was born poor, and I am resolved to die in poverty and penance.”
In 1564, Paschal entered among the Reformed Franciscans in the Kingdom of Valentia and insisted upon becoming simply a lay brother. For twenty-eight years he lived a perfect life in the austere Order he had chosen, a life of extreme poverty and of constant prayer, which even his labors did not interrupt.
The Saint was characterized by intense devotion to our Lord in the Holy Eucharist. Toward the end of his life he frequently spent a great part of the night in prayer before the altar. God often favored him with ecstasies and raptures, but so great was his humility that he carefully avoided whatever might redound to his honor or praise. St. Paschal also had a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin. He died on May 17, 1592, and was canonized in 1690 by Pope Alexander VIII.
PRAYER: God, You filled St. Paschal with a wondrous love for mysteries of Your Body and Blood. May we draw from this Divine Banquet the same spiritual riches he received. Amen.