Gonçalo de Amarante

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Devotional statuette of Saint Gonçalo

Gonçalo de Amarante (variably 'Gonzalo', 'Gundisalvus', etc.) (Arriconha, Tagilde, Vizela Municipality, 1187 – Amarante, Portugal, 10 January 1259) was a Portuguese priest and hermit before becoming a Dominican friar later in life; canonized by Pope Pius IV in 1560.


Known to be devoted to Jesus from childhood, in adulthood he was ordained a diocesan priest. After some time in an extravagantly comfortable parish ministry Gonçalo is said to have gone on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, turning over his responsibilities to his nephew, also a priest. He is held to have returned after some fourteen years on the pilgrim trail.

Gonçalo returned to find the austerity he now upheld in priestly life to be unwelcome by his nephew who set a dog upon Bl. Gonçalo viewing him a vagrant. Discernment led Gonçalo to the Dominican Order to which he was admitted and, unusual to the mendincant Order's charism, allowed to live as a hermit who was in the service of his local community.


Wax models of parts of the body which need healing are offered in his church at Amarante.[1]

The saint is particularly popular in Brazil and has several localities named after him such as São Gonçalo do Amarante, Ceará.


So-called St Gonçalo cakes (in Portuguese: Bolos de São Gonçalo) are a fertility symbol and closely associated with the town of Amarante, though the reason for the association with the name of St Gonçalo is disputed and obscure.[2]


  1. ^ Rough guide to Portugal - Page 328 Mark Ellingham, John Fisher, Graham Kenyon - 2002 "... devoted to Goncalo's healing miracles, the practice is to offer wax models of every conceivable part of the body ..."
  2. ^ http://www.visitportugal.com/en/NR/exeres/868DAB5F-C94D-4AB4-BC3E-C741FC8A57CD