Amadeus of Portugal
|Amadeus of Portugal, O.F.M.|
|Religious, Reformer and Confessor|
Campo Maior, Portugal
10 August 1482|
Amadeus of Portugal, O.F.M., (1420–1482), was a Portuguese nobleman who became first a monk, then left that life to become a friar of the Franciscan Order. Later he became a reformer of that Order, which led to his founding of a distinct branch of the Friars Minor that was named after him, later suppressed by the Pope in order to unite them into one great family of Friars Minor Observants (1568).
His Apocalypsis nova, which contained prophecies of a pope, the "Angelic Pastor", who would work with an emperor to restore harmony in the church and the world, was influential well into the next century, in Rome and the monarchies of Spain and Portugal.
Life and church
He was born João de Menezes da Silva in 1420 in Campo Maior, Portugal, the youngest of the eleven children of Rui Gomes da Silva, the first Magistrate of Campo Maior, on the border of Spain and Portugal, and of Isabel de Menezes, an illegitimate daughter of Dom Pedro de Menezes, 1st Count of Vila Real and 2nd Count of Viana do Alentejo, under whom Silva served in Ceuta. One of his sisters was Saint Beatrice of Silva, a noted Marian mystic and the foundress of the monastic Order of the Immaculate Conception.
Silva, after marrying as a very young man, began his religious life in the Hieronymite monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe, where he spent about ten years. Desirous of joining the Franciscans, he abandoned that life and went to Ubeda, Spain, where he was received into the Order in 1452, entering as a lay brother. He chose to seek Holy Orders after a few years, and was ordained in 1459. After that, while living in various friaries, chiefly in Milan, he attracted attention by his virtue and purported miracles. Under the protection of the Archbishop of Milan, he established the friary of Our Lady of Peace (1469) which became the center of a Franciscan reform. The Minister General of the Order, Francesco della Rovere, extended his protection to him. When later the Minister General became Pope Sixtus IV he called Amadeus to Rome to be his confessor. Other foundations were then made in Italy, among them one at Rome. He returned to Milan, where he died in 1482.
The friaries he founded continued, after his death, to form a distinct branch of the Minorites. These friars were called the Amadeans or Amadists, and they had twenty-eight houses in Italy, the chief one being Saint Peter de Montorio in Rome. Pope Innocent VIII gave them the friary of Saint Genesto near Cartagena, Spain, in Spain (1493). The successors of Amadeus: Georges de Val-Camonique, Gilles de Montferrat, Jean Allemand and Bonaventura de Cremona, preserved his foundation in its original spirit until Pope Saint Pius V suppressed it, along with similar branches of the Franciscan Order, uniting them into one great family of Friars Minor Observants (1568).
He composed a treatise entitled De revelationibus et prophetiis, two copies of which are mentioned by Nicholas Antonio. The work of another Amadeus, Homilies on the Blessed Virgin, has been erroneously attributed to him. His Apocalypsis nova is a dialogue with the Archangel Gabriel about Christian doctrines, which, in some parts, is a commentary on the Book of Revelation.
- Lexikon of the Hispanic Baroque: Transatlantic Exchange and Transformation, edited by Evonne Levy, Kenneth Mills, p. 272; Angels, Demons and the New World, pp. 180-182, edited by Fernando Cervantes, Andrew Redde
- Geneall.pt  (in Portuguese)
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Besse, Jean Martial Léon (1911). "João Mendes de Silva". In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. 10. New York: Robert Appleton.
- Delaney, John J. "Amadeus of Portugal, Bl.". Dictionary of Saints. Google Books. p. 31.