|Saint Vincent Ferrer, O.P.|
|Religious, priest and confessor,
called the Angel of the Last Judgment
23 January 1350|
Valencia, Kingdom of Valencia
|Died||5 April 1419
Vannes, Duchy of Brittany
|Honored in||Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Communion, Aglipayan Church|
|Canonized||3 June 1455, Rome by Pope Calixtus III|
|Major shrine||Cathedral of Vannes
Vannes, Morbihan, France
|Attributes||tongue of flame; pulpit; trumpet; prisoners; wings; Bible|
|Patronage||builders, construction workers, plumbers, fishermen (Brittany) and orphanages (Spain)|
Vincent Ferrer, O.P., (Valencian: Sant Vicent Ferrer, IPA: [ˈsam viˈsɛm feˈreɾ]) (23 January 1350 – 5 April 1419) was a Valencian Dominican friar, who gained acclaim as a missionary and a logician. He is honored as a saint of the Catholic Church.
Vincent was the fourth child of the nobleman Guillem Ferrer, who came from Palamós, and his Spanish wife, Constança Miquel. Legends surround his birth. It was said that his father was told in a dream by a Dominican friar that his son would be famous throughout the world. His mother is said never to have experienced pain when she gave birth to him. He was named after St. Vincent Martyr, the patron saint of Valencia. He would fast on Wednesdays and Fridays and he loved the Passion of Christ very much. He would help the poor and distribute many alms to them. He began his classical studies at the age of eight, his study of theology and philosophy at fourteen.
Four years later, at the age of eighteen, Ferrer entered the Order of Preachers, commonly called the Dominican Order, in England also known as Blackfriars. As soon as he had entered the novitiate of the Order, though, he experienced temptations urging him to leave. Even his parents pleaded with him to do so and become a secular priest. He prayed and practiced penance to overcome these trials. Thus he succeeded in completing the year of probation and advancing to his profession.
For a period of three years, he read solely Sacred Scripture and eventually committed it to memory. He published a treatise on Dialectic Suppositions after his solemn profession, and in 1379 was ordained a Catholic priest at Barcelona. He eventually became a Master of Sacred Theology and was commissioned by the Order to deliver lectures on philosophy. He was then sent to Barcelona and eventually to the University of Lleida, where he earned his doctorate in theology.
Vincent Ferrer is described as a man of medium height, with a lofty forehead and very distinct features. His hair was fair in color and tonsured. His eyes were very dark and expressive; his manner gentle. Pale as was his ordinary color. His voice was strong and powerful, at times gentle, resonant, and vibrant.
The Western Schism divided Christianity first between two, then three, popes. Clement VII lived at Avignon in France, Urban VI in Rome. Vincent was convinced the election of Urban was invalid though Catherine of Siena was just as devoted a supporter of the Roman pope. In the service of Cardinal de Luna, Vincent worked to persuade Spaniards to follow Clement. When Clement died, Cardinal de Luna was elected at Avignon and became Benedict XIII.
Ferrer was loyal to the Avignon Benedict XIII, better known as "Papa Luna" in Castile and Aragon. He worked for Benedict XIII as apostolic penitentiary and Master of the Sacred Palace. Nonetheless Vincent labored to have Benedict XIII end the schism. But Benedict XIII did not resign as all candidates in the conclave had sworn to do, despite losing the support of the French king and nearly all of the cardinals. After an extended period of receiving empty promises, Vincent encouraged King Ferdinand of Castile to withdraw his support from Benedict XIII. Vincent Ferrer later claimed that the Great Schism had such a depressing effect on his mind that it caused him to be seriously ill at the age of forty.
Religious gifts and missionary work
For twenty-one years he was said to have traveled to England, Scotland, Ireland, Aragon, Castile, France, Switzerland, and Italy, preaching the Gospel and converting many. Many biographers believe that he could speak only Valencian, but was endowed with the gift of tongues.
He preached to St. Colette of Corbie and to her nuns, and it was she who told him that he would die in France. Too ill to return to Spain, he did, indeed, die in Brittany. Breton fishermen still invoke his aid in storms. In Spain, he is also the patron of orphanages.
Conversion of Jews and controversy
Vincent is said to be responsible for the conversion of many Jews to Catholicism, often by questionable means; for instance, he is said to have made their lives difficult until they converted and to have "dedicated" synagogues as churches on the basis of his own authority. One of his converts, a former rabbi by the name of Solomon ha-Levi, went on to become the Bishop of Cartagena and later the Archbishop of Burgos. Vincent is noted to have contributed to anti-Semitism in Spain, as violence accompanied his visits to towns that had Jewish communities. He promulgated various anti-Jewish laws banning Jews from trading food with Christians, having Christian employees, changing their residence, or cutting either their hair or beards.
Sources are contradictory concerning Vincent's achievement in converting a synagogue in Toledo, Spain, into the Church of Santa María la Blanca; one source says he preached to the mobs whose riots led to the appropriation of the synagogue and its transformation into a church in 1391; a second source says he converted the Jews of the city who changed the synagogue to a church after they embraced the Faith, but hints at the year 1411; a third source identifies two distinct incidents, one in Valencia in 1391 and one in Toledo at a later date, but says he put down an uprising against Jews in one place and defused a persecution against them in the other. 
Death and legacy
Vincent died on 5 April 1419 at Vannes in Brittany, at the age of sixty-nine, and was buried in Vannes Cathedral. He was canonized by Pope Calixtus III on 3 June 1455. His feast day is celebrated on 5 April. The previously-schismatic Fraternity of Saint Vincent Ferrer, a pontifical religious institute founded in 1979, is named after him.
- "St. Vincent Ferrer ''Catholic Encyclopedia''. Retrieved on 2007-12-14". Newadvent.org. 1912-10-01. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
- Dress, Clayton J. The Late Medieval Age of Crisis and Renewal, 1300-1500: A Biographical Dictionary. Greenwood Press, 2001. ISBN 0-313-30588-9. (p. 490)
- Minnaji O.P., Cora. "Biography: The Life of St. Vincent Ferrer: The Wonder Worker". The Church of St. Vincent Ferrer, NYC
- "St. Vincent Ferrer", Catholic News Agency
- International website of the Order of Preachers "St. Vincent Ferrer"
- "''The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints'' by Rev. Alban Butler". Ewtn.com. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
- Foley OFM, Leonard, "St. Vincent Ferrer", Saint of the Day, Lives, Lessons, and Feast, (revised by Pat McCloskey), Franciscan Media, ISBN 978-0-86716-887-7
- Website O.P.
- "Jewish Encyclopedia, Vincent Ferrer". Jewishencyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
- "The History of Anti-Semitism: From Mohammed to the Marranos - Léon Poliakov - Google Books". Books.google.com. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
- (French) Despland, Michel. "La religion en Occident: Grandes ou petites vérités?". Encyclopédie de l'Agora. Retrieved 2007-08-26.
- Barrack, Marty, Second Exodus
- The Life and Miracles of St. Vincent Ferrer: The "Angel of the Apocalypse"
- Stanislaus M. Hogan, Saint Vincent Ferrer O.P. (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1911).
- Andrew Pradel, St. Vincent Ferrer, of the Order of Friar Preachers: His life, spiritual teaching, and practical devotion, trans. by T. A. Dixon (London: R. Washbourne, 1875). (The French original received its imprimatur in 1863.)
- Vincent Ferrer (saint), Sermons, translated from Valencian into French, Éditions de la Merci, 2010 (ISBN 9782953191752)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Saint Vincent Ferrer.|
- Albert Reinhart, ‘St. Vincent Ferrer’ in The Catholic Encyclopedia (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912).
- John Gilmary Shea, ‘Saint Vincent Ferrer’ in Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints (New York: Benziger Brothers, 1894).
- Terry H Jones, ‘Saint Vincent Ferrer’ in Saints.SQPN.com (Star Quest Production Network).
- ‘St. Vincent Ferrer’ in Saints and Angels (Catholic Online).
- ‘Vincenzo Ferreri, in spagnolo Vincente Ferrer: storia di un santo’ (Città di Mercato S. Severino).
- Celebrations for San Vicente Ferrer in Valencia, Spain