Felix of Nicosia
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|Saint Felix of Nicosia, O.F.M. Cap.|
|Born||5 November 1715
|Died||31 May 1787
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Beatified||12 February 1888 by Pope Leo XIII|
|Canonized||23 October 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI|
|Major shrine||Cathedral of St. Nicholas
|Feast||31 May in Roman martyrology. but Franciscans celebrate him on June 2 because of the liturgical problem.|
He was born Filippo Giacomo Amoroso in Nicosia, Sicily on 5 November 1715. As a young boy Filippo helped in the workshop of father, a shoemaker, which happened to have a nearby Capuchin friary. Thus from an early age, he was getting to know the friars and to admire their way of life.
At the age of 20 he asked the Guardian of the friary to speak for him to the Minister Provincial in Messina so that he could be admitted to the Order as a lay brother. Being illiterate, he could not be admitted as a cleric. After rejecting his application several times, seeing his continued perseverance in his request, however, after eight years they admitted him to the Order and sent him to the novitiate in Mistretta.
On October 19, 1743 he entered the novitiate, being given the name of Brother Felix (after the first Capuchin saint), and professed his vows a year later.
Against the norms, the authorities of the Province then assigned him to the friary in his hometown. This was contrary to the norms, because the fear was that young friars would find themselves distracted by family and friends, thereby stunting their spiritual growth. Yet the level of his detachment was so great that they felt that this fear was largely unwarranted in his case.
He was given the job of quaestor, which involved roaming the region in the goal of collecting alms to support the friars and their work. Every day he would knock on doors, inviting people to share their prosperity. His nature was such that he would always say 'thank you' and even when he was manhandled he would exclaim: Let it be for the love of God.
He was endowed with the gift of healing both physical and spiritual diseases and he delighted in tending the sick. He could also bilocate in the same way as another Capuchin friar of modern times, Padre Pio. Called to aid the sick when a malignant epidemic was decimating the nearby town of Cerami in March 1777, he responded eagerly. He went about ministering the sick, and his efforts were crowned with great success.
For 33 years he lived under a Guardian who considered it his role to sanctify Felix by subjecting him to relentless severity and fantastic humiliations, all of which he heroically endured. Finally, in May 1787 he was overtaken by a sudden, raging fever while working in the garden. Brother Felix told the doctor, who prescribed medicines for him that proved useless, because this was his final illness. He died later that month, on May 31, at two in the morning. So dedicated was he to his vow of obedience that he requested permission to die from the Guardian of the community.
Brother Felix was beatified by Pope Leo XIII on 12 February 1888. In 1891, his relics were translated to the cathedral of the city for greater access by the public who wished to venerate him. He was canonized on 23 October 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI.