Extraordinary miracles of Saint Vincent Ferrer

The Miracles of St Vincent Ferrer (1350-1419) – Angel of the Apocalypse

Taken from “St. Vincent Ferrer, of the Order of Preachers” by Fr. Pradel, 1875, “Saint Vincent Ferrer” by Fr. Hogan, 1911 and “Angel of the Judgement” by S.M.C. 1954

(The host of this website would like to gratefully thank Jeff Apodaca for his work in compiling this inspiring article. May God reward him for his efforts)

The Forgotten Apostle

There is a Saint who was one of the greatest saints in the history of the Church, yet who’s existence has been mostly forgotten. Even when spoken of, the descriptions used for him are so watered down, so vague, that they are shameful and an insult to his true glory. This forgotten Saint performed more miracles in a single day then all of the miracles performed by other saints over their entire life. Add to this is that the nature of his miracles were often of an extraordinary nature. Many saints are hailed at having cured a cripple or healed someone blind, but such miracles were so common for our Saint that most weren’t even recorded. The saint being spoken of here is St. Vincent Ferrer.

It would it would require thousands of pages to properly cover the works of this most favored Saint. So, in the following we will limit ourselves to a brief discussion of his life, concentrating mostly on some of his more amazing miracles. The purpose here is to excite your awe, admiration and love so that you may include this Saint in your prayers, asking for his intercession. For the miracles which he performed were of such a number and uniqueness in character, that after hearing, you will wonder how such a great saint could not be raised high by the Church so as to be venerated by all. After reading of his life and miracles, you will come to know that this was one of the greatest saints in the history of the Church. A saint equal to the original 12 apostles and could be considered a 13th apostle.

The Greatest Miracle Worker since the days of the 12 Apostles

St. Louis Bertrand testified: “God sanctioned the teaching of Vincent Ferrer by so many miracles, that there never was a saint since the days of the Apostles to our own times, who wrought more”. The Church officially recognized 892 of his miracles as part of his canonization, but the total number is estimated to be in hundreds of thousands. For if he had performed only 8 miracles a day during the 20 years of his apostolate, the number would have exceeded fifty-eight thousand. Yet this amazing number is considered woefully low by those who were contemporaries. The Bishop of Telesia said: “It is quite impossible for me to enumerate all the miracles that I have seen him work, and volumes would not contain them”. One witness who followed the Saint for fifteen months testified under oath that “after Mass and the Sermon, and again after Vespers, the sick were brought to Master Vincent to be healed. Master Vincent laid his hands upon them, blessed them, and the sick were healed, and went away rejoicing.”

We commonly celebrate many great saints who worked miracles such as instantly curing those near death, giving cripples the ability to walk, perhaps giving sight to a blind person, or even maybe raising a recently dead person back to life. These are truly wonderous events worthy of veneration, but such miracles were common place for St Vincent Ferrer. For example, St. Antoninus affirmed that twenty-eight persons were raised from death by St Vincent, but that this number did not represent the total number, which was much greater. Near the town of Conflans during August 1415, he fed 4,000 men, not counting women and children, with seven loaves and a few fishes. Near Palma of Majorca St. Vincent Ferrer stilled a storm in order to preach from a wharf. At Beziers he stopped a flood. He could cast out demons with a word or a touch. People heard him in their own local language though he spoke his native Spanish dialect. Yet, the aforementioned does not cover all of the extraordinary gifts he was given. 

His power was so supreme that he would communicate it to others. Frequently when people came to ask these sorts of favours of him, he would turn to one of his companions and say: “I have wrought sufficient miracles today and am tired. Do yourself what is asked of me. The Lord Who works through me will also work through you.” Then these priests would go off to perform miracles. To one Prior of his Order, he imparted this power of working miracles throughout the prior’s entire life. St Vincent even communicated the power of miracles to inanimate objects. On one occasion he gave one of his articles of clothing to a poor but pious woman. The placing of this relic on the heads of the sick cured them, and the alms she received enabled her to live in comfort. At the town of Grans, Spain, he left them a crucifix which became the instrument of many miracles. People were healed by the simple touch of his hands or even his religious habit, which would cut pieces from. On one occasion in early 1418 as he entered the city of Vannes, just outside its gate there were gathered on each side of the road the sick, the blind, the dumb, and the lame. St Vincent blessed them and they were all immediately healed. The air was filled with hymns of thanksgiving as they called down God’s benediction on His servant who had healed them. At times people with corrupted hearts received the love of virtue by merely the glance of St Vincent’s eyes. And these amazing miracles did not cease with his death. Many incredible miracles were performed after his death by invoking his intercession. St Vincent Ferrer was truly the greatest miracle worker since the days of the twelve apostles and could be considered the thirteenth apostle.

The Miracles performed before his birth

St. Vincent Ferrer was born on January 23, 1350 to William and Constance Ferrer, a very pious couple living in Valencia, Spain. Vincent was the fourth of eight children. The miracles started with this child even before his birth. To start, the mother felt none of the usual pains which always accompanied her pregnancies. During her pregnancy, Constance went to give her monthly alms to a blind woman. After asking the blind women to pray for a safe child birth, the blind women bent her head over onto the mother’s bosom and said “May God bestow that favor on you!”. At that instant the blind women could see. The baby Vincent in his mother’s womb started to jump, as John the Baptist did. In the time just before his birth, Constance heard the child give utterances to cries like that of a little barking dog – resembling what the mother of St. Dominic encountered. In the weeks before his birth, his father had a dream where he entered the church of the Dominicans at Valencia. The preacher at the pulpit turned to him and said “I felicitate you, William; in a few days you will have a son who will become a prodigy of learning and sanctity; ….the world will resound with the fame of his wondrous deeds; … he will put on the habit which I wear, and will be received in the Church with universal joy, as one of its first Apostles.”

The Miracles performed during his Childhood

Needless to say, this was a very famous baby before his birth. His baptism was a city event which drew many of the important of Valencia. After much debate among those present as to the name to be given to this child, it was the priest who divinely inspired, named him Vincent after the patron saint of the city, Vincent Martyr. Little baby Vincent gave his mother little trouble. He seldom cried and would remain tranquil. Vincent was still in cradle and just starting to lisp, when Valencia was hit by a drought. Though public prayers were offered to obtain relief, not a cloud appeared in the sky. Then one of these days, as his mother was speaking of this, she clearly heard her son say “If you wish for rain, carry me in procession, and you shall be favorably heard”. Hearing these miraculous words, the mother rushed to the city magistrate, who immediately decreed that a precession should take place. The baby Vincent was carried triumphantly; shortly after the precession was completed, the sky suddenly became overcast and copious rain fell for several hours. When Vincent was six years old, he was taken to a child of the same age who had a dangerous pustule on the neck. He was asked to touch the affected part, but instead, Vincent kissed it. The moment his lips touched the flesh, it was instantly cured; the wound had disappeared. When Vincent was nine years old, he went to the home of one of his classmates to fetch him for school. Hearing the mother weeping, he hastily ascended the stairs of the house and found the mother, who cried out, sobbing: “My son is dead!”. Vincent smiled and said to the mother: “Let us go, my friend is not dead, he is sleeping; let us go to see him.” Vincent approached the bed, and taking the cold and rigid corpse by the hand exclaimed: ”Get up, it is time to go to school!” The nine year old boy opened his eyes as if he had been in a deep sleep. The boy dressed himself and they both headed off to school as if nothing had occurred.

The Dominican Order of Preachers

On the evening before February 2, 1367, the Prior of the convent of St Dominic had a vision of St Dominic. In this vision St Dominic showed him a young man and told him “Receive him; he shall be your brother and my son”. That day, Vincent Ferrer arrived at the convent. The Prior recognized Vincent from his vision and welcomed him into the Order. Vincent resolved to make his life a close imitation of that of St Dominic. He was constant in his prayers and mortifications, never omitting any of them. Vincent had been gifted great intelligence which was recognized when he was only five years old. In his studies at the abbey he learned Hebrew and could quote scripture in it. He studied the Talmud and could refute the absurd doctrines and lying stories which the book abounds in. He devoted a considerable portion of the night to prayer in the church. One night as he prayed to Jesus regarding His passion, the crucifix turned its head to Vincent saying “Yes, Vincent, I have borne all these sufferings, and even more.” The new position of the crucifix was preserved for all to witness. In the years 1372 to 1375 brother Vincent was in Barcelona, Spain where his preaching drew so many that he needed to preach in the public squares. 

The Miracle of the Ships of Grain

In the spring of 1375, the city of Barcelona was in the midst of a terrible famine. The inhabitants made public prayers and precessions to obtain God’s intercession. At the end of one of these precessions which ended in a public square, Brother Vincent exhorted everyone to repentance for the famine was God’s punishment for their forgetfulness of the Divine Law. He then suddenly exclaimed that this night two vessels would arrive at port laden with grain. But the crowd dismissed what he said due to the terrible seas which were present, and which would prevent any ship from reaching port. His fellow religious subsequently admonished Vincent about making such type of statements, and he was ordered by his Prior not to do anything which would draw attention to himself. Vincent accepted this admonishment and spent the rest of the day in prayer. Towards that evening, two vessels laden with grain arrived and over the next few days twenty others also arrived. 

The Miracle of the Falling Worker

One day some block masons, working high on a wall on a prison roof, spotted Friar Vincent walking down the street. Just as he was passing by, one of the masons lost his footing and started to fall crying out: “Friar Vincent! Friar Vincent!”  Looking up, Friar Vincent yelled out “Stay right were you are until I come back.” Immediately, the man stopped falling and hung in midair high above the street. Running back to his Prior, Vincent said: “A man who is falling off a roof has asked me to help him, so he is waiting till I have your permission.” “Waiting?” “Yes, he is waiting.” The Prior answered:” Well, go back and finish it off, undoubtedly there is a crowd”. Friar Vincent went back, and by this time there was a large crowd of astonished people gapping up at the man suspended this whole time in midair. “The Prior says you may come down” said Vincent. The man floated gently down to the earth. This miracle is the reason he is the patron saint of builders and construction workers. 

The Apostolate of Repentance 

In the year 1396, after over twenty years of having played key roles in many activities within the Church, including confessor to Pope Benedict XIII, Father Vincent became grievously ill and for twelve days laid at deaths door. On October 3, 1396, in Avignon on the eve of the Feast of St. Francis, the saint’s room was flooded with celestial light. Our Lord, St Francis and St Dominic all appeared to him. Jesus instructed him regarding his mission, which was to go out to preach the Gospel and repentance; that this would be a merciful occasion of repentance and conversion from God. Jesus touched Vincent on the face which instantly cured him, then the vision disappeared. 

St Vincent commenced his new apostolate on November 25, 1398 at the age of 48. Pope Benedict XIII granted him “Legatus a Latere Christi”; the fullest powers to preach in any church. His authority for such was second only to the Pope himself. Over the next twenty years St Vincent would travel through Italy, Germany, France, Spain, and England preaching conversion, offering mass, hearing confessions, and working miracles to confirm his message. He walked on foot everywhere, wore a rough hair shirt, fasted, disciplined himself every night, slept on the hard ground, and allowed himself only five hours of sleep. There were thousands of the faithful who traveled with him from town to town. At times the number would swell to ten thousand. Those followers, who had been public sinners, were required to perform the most rigorous public penances. The followers of St. Vincent became examples of Christian piety exhibiting perfect peace and charity. 

The Gift of a Preacher – The Miracles of his Preaching

There were many miraculous gifts associated with St. Vincent’s preaching. He always preached in his native Spanish Valencian dialect yet everyone clearly understood him no matter which language they spoke. Whether they spoke French, Italian, English, Greek or German, they not only heard their own native tongue but also their native idiom. In 1418 our Saint was in Caen where King Henry held his Court, which was composed of people from many lands. They were all astonished and the King testified that they heard Vincent “preaching, as it were in the language of each one present.” He would speak to huge crowds in large plazas without modern amplification, yet he was clearly heard by all, even if the distance was over miles away. His voice carried with it such of the Holly Spirit that people were moved to repentance and conversion at hearing his words. People wept when they heard him say Mass. Lukewarm souls would be given the grace of compunction and openly weep at his preaching for repentance. The enthusiasm of the people was unparalleled. People would leave their work, shops would close, Law-Courts and universities closed, and people would travel from miles around to attend his talks. The Cathedrals could not hold the enormous crowds so he would preach in the public squares, which not only filled the squares but also the adjacent houses and roof tops. His sermons would commonly be three or even six hours long, yet the crowd never fatigued. On Good Friday an estimated 30,000 were present in Valencia to hear him. The Rector of the Cathedral, Jean Regis, testified that when the Saint cried out in his sermon on the Last Judgement ‘Arise ye dead and come to judgement’, his voice rang out with such terrifying power that the people flung themselves to the ground crying for mercy and pardon. Over the twelve days he preached in Nantes, Brittany, the inhabitants declared that they had never before witnessed so many conversions and miracles. The morals of its people became holy and pure. 

The Miracles of his Travels

Brother Vincent traveled everywhere by foot until the last years of life when it became necessary for him to ride a mule. There were thousands who followed him, similar to how thousands followed Jesus as he went from town to town. It was told that he had the miracle of being able to cross the difficult roads of the Alps in an incredibly short space of time. On one occasion when he and his companions entered his home town of Valencia, all of the church bells began to ring by themselves. This ringing continued until he reached the Dominican convent. On another occasion he and his large company were crossing the river between Ebro and Tortosa. The boats were dangerously overloaded and eventually started to take on water to the point of sinking. Cries of distress were heard on every side imploring Master Vincent to save them. He made the sign of the Cross on the river, instantly the boats ceased to take on water, and they safely reached their destination. During the last days of his life, his companions were anxious to have him return to Spain so that he may die in his native land, though it had been revealed to Vincent that he would die there. One night they left the city of Vannes, and after traveling all night, at daybreak were astonished to find themselves back at the gates of Vannes. St Vincent said: “My brethren, let us not speak of returning into Spain; you clearly see that it is God’s Will that I should end my days here.”

The Miracle Conversion of Jews and Muslims

In the year 1414 there was a Jewish conference in Tortosa. St Vincent composed his classic treatise “The Treaty against the Jews” which refutes the many lies in the Talmud. After sixty-nine meetings, fourteen of the sixteen Rabbis became Catholic. This was followed by the general conversion of the Jews in the districts around Tortosa. In the years around 1415, it is recorded that Friar Vincent converted twenty thousand Jews in Castile, eight thousand in the kingdom of Aragon, seven thousand in Catalonia, and over thirty thousand through out the rest of Spain. Jewish scholars at that time record that in the year 1412, a Friar named Brother Vincent had converted more than two hundred thousand. Whole synagogues were converted and the places turned into Catholic churches. Once a Muslim promised to embrace the faith if the pyre he had lighted in the main square was extinguished at Vincent’s prayer; Vincent prayed, the flame went out. Having been invited by the Muslim king of Grenada, there Vincent converted eighteen thousand Muslims after three sermons.

The Miracle of the Dying Sinner in Despair

There was a dying man who was a known sinner. His priest exhorted this sinner to make use of the sacrament of Confession but the man in despair rebuked the pleas saying that his sins were too great. Brother Vincent was in the neighborhood, and being appraised of the situation, hastened to him. Vincent spoke tenderly to him about Jesus and his mercy but this only incited the man to greater despair. Vincent finally turned to the dying man and said: “I will save thee in spite of thyself.” He then invited those present to invoke the Holy Virgin and to recite the Rosary. Before the Rosary was completed, the room was flooded with an immense light and the Mother of God appeared with the Divine Child. The dying man’s witness of this, changed his heart, and full of compunction, he asked pardon of God. Having received the Sacraments of the Church, the man shortly after expired.

The Miracle of the Distant Paralytic

One day while preaching in Lerida to the King of Aragon and an immense multitude, Vincent stopped in the middle of his discourse and exclaimed that there was a paralytic man a couple of miles away who was struggling to reach the city. The King dispatched two of his servants to fetch the man. Carrying the paralytic in their arms, they approached St Vincent, who raising his hand, made the sign of the cross over the cripple. The cripple was instantly cured and ran to St Vincent to thank him.

The Miracle of the Unjust Husband

There was a woman whose husband falsely accused her of infidelity and that their new born child was not his son. The women went to Brother Vincent to seek his counsel. The Saint told her: “Come to my next sermon, bid your husband mix with the audience, and omit not to bring your baby with you.” The women obeyed the instructions. When Vincent had begun his talk to the huge crowd, he addressed himself to the baby: “Leave thy mother’s arms and go in search of thy father in the midst of this great crowd of people.” The little baby was given miraculous use of its feet to everyone’s astonishment. It threaded its way through the crowd unassisted, then seizing its father’s hand cried out “This is my father; I am really his child”. The father sobbed aloud, asked pardon of his wife, and made full reparation for having calumniated her.

The Miracle of the Sinners turned to Marble 

While preaching in Pampeluna, Master Vincent suddenly stopped and informed his audience that God commanded him to put a stop to a grievous offense being committed in the city. He descended the pulpit and a group followed him to the entrance of a large palace, who’s doors were closed. Vincent touched one of the doors which then opened by itself. Entering and traversing the halls and chambers, he exclaimed the impure vice which was occurring. Those who had followed Vincent could not see anyone but could distinctly hear the people in their sinful passions. St. Vincent implored them to stop, threatening them with terrible chastisements, but they derided him. They were all then changed into statues of marble. But being touched with compassion, he approached the statues and breathed into their mouths, restoring them to life. These sinners, moved from hearts of stone, all made their confessions one after the other. As each received their sacramental absolution, they expired at the feet of our Saint.

St Vincent Ferrer
The Miracle of the Dying Sinner and his Petition

One time while in Spain, St. Vincent was asked to help a dying man who was resolved to die without confession, in despair of forgiveness. Even after hearing from our Saint how his sins would be forgiven, the man refused confession. Then Vincent said to him: “I assure you that God has pardoned you. I have prayed for you, and have obtained mercy; nay, more, whatever merits I may have, these I have entirely made over to you.” In hearing this the dying man was somewhat reassured and told Vincent that he would make his confession if the Saint would put this in writing. Writing all of this onto a piece of paper, the sinner then made his confession. Vincent placed the paper in the man’s hands. The man drew his last breath and the paper disappeared. Later when St. Vincent was preaching in a public square to more than thirty thousand, the sheet of paper which had been given to the man, descended from heaven and landed in Vincent’s hands.

The Miracle of the Violent Storm

While in the city of Barbastro, in Catalonia, Vincent had completed Mass and was unvesting, when a terrible storm suddenly unleashed itself. It was so violent that the people felt in fear of destruction. The Saint walked out of the church, made the sign of the Cross with holy-water, the storm immediately stopped and the sky became serene. Ascending the pulpit, he exhorted the people to give thanks to the holy Apostles because it was by their intercession that this storm was stopped. Adding that if it had not been abated, no leaves would have been left on the trees, nor green herbs in the fields. He also told them that unless they beseech God to preserve their goods and make holy use of them, the following year would bring a similar tempest which would devastate the land. Eleven months later a storm did exactly as he had warned about.

The Healing Miracle of Guillaume de Villiers

There was a ten-year-old boy named Guillaume de Villiers who was stricken by a mysterious malady in which he was stricken dumb, refused all nourishment, and had become totally paralyzed. He heard and understood what was spoken to him, as evidenced by his expression, but was incapable of making any sort of response. His brother testified that even when struck by a rod hard enough to draw blood, the youth showed no movement. While Friar Vincent was in Saint-Lo in 1418, the parents brought the boy to him and petitioned for his cure. Vincent told them: “Bring the child to Caen.” So, the parents joined the precession following our friar, wheeling the child in a little hand-cart. On reaching Caen the preacher was conducted to a great open space where King Henry and his officials were seated, with a huge multitude in the surrounding space. As soon as the sermon was ended, the parents of the sick boy, fearing that he would be forgotten, pushed their way with the cart to the front near Vincent. They begged piteously for their son that he obtain either a speedy cure or speedy death. The master turned to the King and multitude instructing all to pray. While they were in prayer, St. Vincent made the Sign of the Cross over the child saying: “May the Blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost descend on thee and remain forever.” Next, he spoke to the boy: “My child, what do you want of God?” “Father,” answered the cured boy, “I desire the good pleasure of God which is being accomplished at this moment.” This child gave witness of this event himself when he was a man of forty-six years saying that it was his opinion that he had been possessed by an evil spirit who left at St. Vincent’s order.

The Miraculous Cure of the Doubting Man

In Barcelona, Spain, there was a man named Louis Cataldo who had been suffering from severe head pains which no doctor nor treatment could help. This man didn’t believe in the miracles St. Vincent was performing, but in desperation he went to church where Vincent was preaching. As Vincent descended from the pulpit the man said: “Father, I have suffered frightful pains in the head for two years; I implore you to cure me.” The Saint replied: “I am neither God, nor a doctor, to cure you.” In hearing this response to his plea, the man realized the Saint knew he had doubts about the miracles. But aided by God’s grace, he said to him once more “And yet I firmly hope you will grant me this favour.” Vincent replied: “But do you really believe it?” “Certainly, my Father” the man answered. Then Vincent placed his hand on Louis’s head saying “Thou art already cured; thank God and believe that they who serve Him are invested with great power.” The man was instantly cured and for the remaining forty years of his life, he never experienced the slightest pain in his head.

The Miracle of the Holy Name of Jesus and the Blacksmith

Once when preaching about the holy name of Jesus while at Berga in Catalonia, a violent rain began to fall. Some in the audience found shelter in a blacksmith shop owned by a Muslim man. While they were waiting for the storm to subside, a woman said to the smith: “Why do you not come, as we do, to hear the sermons of the holy Father?”. The Muslim man became furious saying: “Cursed be your holy Father!” At that moment sparks from his forge set fire to the dried wood piles placed around his workshop. “We shall now see what use you make of those sermons” he added. The fire rapidly spread to various other materials around the shop and the people suddenly found themselves surrounded by flames. In their danger they invoked the Holy Name of Jesus. They said: “O sweet Jesus, your preacher, Master Vincent, told us that your Name is the help of Christians, deliver us from this pressing danger!” In an instant the flames went out by themselves and there wasn’t even smoke from the burned wood. This miracle so astonished the Muslim blacksmith that he converted, and three days later was baptized by St Vincent.

The Miracle of the Merchant who Lost his Sight

There was a merchant named Seuchier who had lost his sight. In hearing that St. Vincent was at the Benedictine Abbey at Montolieu, the merchant went there to seek healing. The Saint met the man, who cast himself on the ground before him saying: “Master, since you are, as I believe, a true disciple of Jesus Christ, I pray you restore to me my sight which I have lost for the space of three years.” St Vincent made the sign of the Cross on the man’s eyes and the merchant immediately recovered his sight.

The Miracle of the Princess and the Heavy Stone

In Valencia, the Princess Jane Prades was known for her vanity, immodest clothing, and vain towering head dress. While Vincent was preaching in the timber market, a large heavy stone which had an unknown origin, crashed down through the shade awning and violently struck the Princess on the head. Everyone thought she was dead and all were greatly saddened at what they had witnessed. But the holy preacher told the crowd not to be alarmed because the stone did not fall to kill the Princess, only to knock down the extravagant ornament of her hair. Then Vincent said: “Princess Jane, rise up.” She immediately rose up sound and well. After this, she clothed herself in modest garb.

The Miracle of the Dismembered Child

In the town of Morella not far from Valencia, Vincent had been invited to a home for dinner after his preaching. The husband who arrived shortly before Vincent, found that his wife had killed and dismembered their little child. As the husband wild with grief looked upon the bloody remains, St Vincent arrived. Consoling the husband, he gathered the parts of the child with his own hands. Kneeling down, making the sign of the cross, he prayed: “May Jesus Christ the Son of Mary, the Lord and Saviour of the world, Who drew the soul of this child from nothingness, restore it once again to its body, to the praise and glory of His great majesty”. To the witness of the parents and the neighbors who had come to the house in hearing the cries of the husband, the parts of the child rejoin together and the child was completely restored to life, with no indications of this great tragedy. This event is depicted in a painting by Francesco del Cossa in the New Picture Gallery in the Vatican.

The Miracle of the Assassins turned to Statues

In Spain while traveling from Lerida to Balguer, a group of assassins waited in ambush to kill Brother Vincent. These men were angry because the Saint’s preaching had caused the women of bad morals to repent of their trade, thus depriving these men of their income. Being aware of the assassins plans, the Saint told his companions: “They who come before us are the panders of the women of abandoned life who are converted, and they are coming to me with a firm resolution of killing me.” The companions offered to defend him; but he said to them “I have no need of you; go on before, and leave me alone with these men.” No sooner was Vincent separated from his companions than the assassins surrounded him with their swords drawn preparing to slay him. St Vincent turned towards them, making the sign of the Cross said “By the sign of the Cross, deliver me from our enemies, O Lord.” The assassins immediately became like statues, unable to move. Then the Saint began to preach penitence to them. When he knew they were all repentant, he gave them permission to depart. At these words they were restored. They cast down their swords, fell at his feet, asked pardon of him, asked permission to join his company and to perform public penance. They joined the group and gave great example to all.

The Miracle of the Donkey Shoes

One day, at Montblanch, Brother Vincent brought his donkey to a farrier begging him in charity to be so good as to shoe his beast, which had lost a shoe. When the job reshoeing all four was completed, the farrier asked to be paid. Vincent told him “I have nothing to give you, but God will recompense you for your charity”. The workman answered “Oh Father, I cannot work merely out of charity … pay me or I will not restore to you your donkey”. The Saint again asked him for this charity, but the workman said “I cannot afford it, and you shall neither have the beast nor the shoes until you have paid me.” Then St Vincent turned to his donkey and said: “This man will not give the shoes which he has put on you, because I cannot pay him, restore them to him, and let us go.” At this the animal shook its feet one after the other, miraculously casting off the shoes. At the sight of this miracle, the workman, stupefied, fell on his knees before the Saint, besought pardon for his obstinate avarice, then reshoed the donkey. 

The Miracle of the Woman made Beautiful

St Vincent was one day passing through a certain street in his home town of Valencia, when he heard arguing, cries of rage, blasphemies and horrible imprecations coming from a house. Entering the house, as the husband was leaving, he found the wife continuing to curse her husband. He asked her why she was so furious and for what reason she uttered such shameful blasphemies. The sobbing women answered: “Father, it is not only today, but every day and every hour of the day, that this wretched man, my husband, persecutes me, and always ends by cruelly beating me and bruising me with blows; this is not life, my Father, it is a constant death, damnation of the soul, and a hell worse than that of the devils.” Vincent sweetly answered “No my daughter, you must not speak thus; this anger will profit you nothing, except to offend God still more grievously … tell me why your husband persecutes and maltreats you in this manner.” “It is because I am ugly” the women replied. The Saint then said “And is it for that, that he offends God so exceedingly?” Then raising his right hand over the woman’s face, he added: “Go, my daughter, now you will no longer be ugly; but remember to serve God, and become holy.” At that moment she was transformed into the most beautiful woman in Valencia.  This miracle was so celebrated in Spain, that for centuries there was the common expression when encountering a less than attractive women: “This woman has great need of the hand of St. Vincent.”

The Miracle of the Palace from Heaven

One day, as St Vincent traveled through a vast plain with the multitude which followed him, the Saint perceived that all were fatigued with the journey and suffering greatly from hunger and thirst. He recommended them to God in a short prayer, and full of confidence in Divine Providence, he turned to his companions saying: “Not far hence is a hillock," and at the same time pointed to it with his finger "but a little further on we shall find a lodging where we shall be kindly received, and where we shall be able to recruit our strength." Indeed, they had scarce passed the hillock, when they discovered a sumptuous palace on the plain. They all entered and were received by a number of young, beautiful, people. The wines, bread, and food seemed to them the food of Paradise. Having regained their strength, and thanked God, the travelers offered a thousand thanks to their hosts, and set out again. When Vincent had gone about three miles, knowing there was a man in the group who had little faith in the miracles, called the man to him saying: "I have left my kerchief at the inn from which we have come; go and fetch it. I left it on the table." The incredulous disciple obeyed, and went to the place where they had been; but did not find the house. He sought in vain on every side but could not discover the place which they had been or any trace of a house. It was a bleak plain. In the midst of this plain was a huge stone, and on the top of it lay the Saint's kerchief. Astonished, the disciple realized that this palace where they had been received could only be a habitation miraculously prepared by angels; and reasoning thus, he approached the Saint. He immediately sunk on his knees, and asked pardon of him for his incredulity. The Saint readily accorded it to him, but forbade him to make known the miracle. The disciple, however, unable to contain himself, proclaimed to all, saying that the angels, wishing to honour St. Vincent, had descended from heaven, and miraculously prepared a habitation to receive him and his companions, and that they had been served by the hands of angels.

The Miracle of the Sermon and the Distant Monastery

While Vincent was preaching in Valencia, there was a religious, who in hearing one of our Saint’s sermons, asked his Abbot if he could join Vincent’s company of followers. His request was denied so the religious returned to his Monastery which was twenty-five miles away. One morning, knowing the time of St. Vincent’s sermon, this religious went to the top of a nearby hill, and restraining his breath, strove to hear the sermon. He obtained the grace to hear so clearly, that even at this great distance, he could write down the whole sermon without omitting a syllable. The Saint, knowing what had occurred, concluded this sermon saying: “My children, I exhort you who have been present at my sermon not to forget my words, for there are many who would wish to be present and cannot. Among them is a religious of a monastery many miles hence, and whose ears all my words have reached.”

The Miracle of the Dead Woman’s Testimony

When preaching to an immense crowd in the open square of the Dominican Convent of St. Stephen, St. Vincent solemnly declared that he was the Angel of the Judgement spoken of by St John in his writings on the Apocalypse. This caused murmurings amongst the crowd which included many religious and theologians. St Vincent, knowing of these murmurings said: "Some of you go near St. Paul's Gate, and you will find a dead person borne on men's shoulders on the way to the grave. Bring the corpse hither, and you shall hear the proof of what I tell you." Several men went as instructed as the multitude waited. Soon the bier was brought with a dead woman upon it. They raised the litter and set it up so all could see. St. Vincent bade her return to life, and the dead woman sat up. "Who am I?" Vincent asked her. She answered: "You, Father Vincent, are the Angel of the Apocalypse, as you have already told this vast assembly." She then once more laid down in death. A cross was placed on the spot of this occurrence.

The Miracle of the Jews and the Crosses

St Vincent was one day introduced into a synagogue at Salamanca by a Jew whom the Saint had befriended for this purpose. He entered with a crucifix in his hand, which caused dismay amoung the assembly. But he calmed them by saying he had come to speak to them on a matter of utmost importance. The Jews imagined that he was to speak about a matter of public interest, and so they listened to him with great attention. He then, in soft and gentle words, began to speak to them of the Christian faith. While preaching, there appeared a shower of snow-white crucifixes which settled on the clothing of everyone assembled. The crosses appeared outside the garments but then penetrated invisibly to their hearts. Moved by Divine grace, they all became Christians and were baptized by Vincent. The synagogue was consecrated by St Vincent into a church and named the True Cross.

The Miracles of the Corpse

The Venerable Father Micon reported, and the Fathers of the convent at Calabria gave guarantees of the following. A number of witnesses were gathered at Lerida before the Church of St. Jean. They saw Master Vincent encounter a corpse there. With the Sign of the Cross Vincent returned the corpse alive to its feet. 

The Miracle of the Jew brought back to Life

On Palm Sunday, 1407, there was a rich and important Jew of Andalusia, named Abraham, who had gone to Master Vincent’s sermon partly from curiosity and partly in defiance. After uttering a stream of sarcasms, he began to leave in anger while Vincent was preaching. As some people at the door opposed his passing, St. Vincent cried out: "Let him go! Come away all of you at once, and leave the passage free!" The people did as ordered, and at the instant the Jew left, part of the porch structure fell on him and crushed him to death. Then the saint rose from his chair and went to the ghastly crushed body. He knelt there in prayer. Abraham came to life fully restored, and his first words were: "The religion of the Jews is not the true faith. The True Faith is that of the Christians." 

The Miracle of the Note from Heaven

While in Pampeluna, some of the people there besought Master Vincent to come to the spiritual aid of a woman of notoriously bad character. He found her completely hardened, obstinate, and so despairing of her salvation that she exclaimed “It is impossible for me to be saved; God cannot pardon either the multitude or the enormity of my sins.” He continued to beseech her and to offer ample reasons for her to not despair, but to no avail. Finally, he raised up his heart to God, made a short prayer, then promised the woman that if her absolution should come in writing from heaven, if she would promise to make her confession.  She immediately began to ridicule but eventually said: “If it be so, I am very willing to confess.” Then St Vincent took a pen and paper, and wrote these words: “Brother Vincent Ferrer beseeches the most Holy Trinity to grant the sinner here present the absolution of her sins.” He then folded the paper and tossed it into the air. The document flew out of the house. After some minutes the paper came flying back into the house, folded and landed into St Vincent’s hand. He unfolded the paper and found the following written in gold: “We, the most Holy Trinity, at the request of our Vincent, grant the sinner of whom he speaks, the pardon of her faults; We dispense her from all the punishment which she ought to undergo; and if she confesses, she shall be carried to heaven in half an hour, where she shall reign eternally with us . . From heaven . . We, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”  Without delay, the happy woman made her confession; in half an hour afterwards, she left this earthly life for heaven.

The Miracle of Two Men going to their Execution

In Zamora in the year 1412, there were two men being led to execution. The penalty was death by burning. Master Vincent requested the officers of justice to bring the two condemned before him. This was done, and the criminals were placed on the pulpit-steps, hidden from the eyes of the people. St. Vincent began to speak of the punishment which sin met with in the other life and then, in vivid terms, depicted the sin of which the two condemned had been guilty and the penalty it deserved. His sermon lasted three hours, but when the authorities went to remove the condemned, it was discovered that remorse had done its work in a striking and effective manner, for they were burnt by some mysterious fire to the very bones. The bodies of the criminals were buried near the pulpit from which the Saint had preached. The event was mentioned by saintly Cornelius a Lapide, in his “Commentary on Jeremias”, affirming that “the exhortations of St. Vincent were productive of such grief in the hearts of the two criminals as to cause their death as if by fire. Repentance and love were their executioners; rather should we say repentance and love gave them new life.”

The Miracle of the Bell

While passing through the city of Zamora, Vincent visited a convent. As he was leaving, the religious there asked him to leave them some token of remembrance. “Most willingly; I will leave you our bell, take care of it, and treat it with respect, for it will serve a great, noble, and agreeable purpose” he said. They did not comprehend then what this noble and agreeable purpose meant. The religious treated the bell as a precious relic of a saint, placing it apart, and treating it with honor. It was not long before they learned what Vincent had meant; for the bell sounded of itself some days prior to the death of any one among them. This continued for over a hundred years until the year 1550, sounding the last time at the death of Father John of St. Dominic. 

The Miracle of the Watered-Down Wine

While on the Isle of Majorca preaching, a tavern-keeper asked St Vincent to preach on the obligation of the payment of debts. The tavern-keeper explained how he had given credit for several measures of wine but was unable to recover payment. The Saint answered him: “Very well, I shall say how guilty those are who keep what belongs to another; but first of all, I should like to know what the wine is like which you sell.” The man retrieved a bottle of wine to show him and said: “Taste it Father; you will see that it is of excellent quality.” St Vincent then said: “Pour it on my scapular.” “But I shall spoil your holy habit” replied the tavern-keeper. “That concerns me; do what I tell you” said Vincent. As the man poured, the contents of the bottle separated into two parts, that which was wine ran upon the ground not staining the habit, while the other which was fraudulently added water, remained on the scapular. “My brother,” exclaimed Vincent, “you desire that others should pay you what is due; but have not you injured many persons by selling them an adulterated article? and ought not you to repair that injury?” The tavern-owner being greatly confused, confessed his faults, made restitution to each whom he overcharged, renounced his trade, and joined the company which followed St Vincent.

The Miracle of the Farmers Field

At Montecalieri there was a farmer who gave Vincent hospitality. The man asked “Master, what can I do to be delivered from the storms which, year after year, devastate the countryside?” “For this year,” replied the Saint, “I will see to it.” Some time later a terrible storm came on the area with devasting hail. The fields of crops were devasted everywhere except for the cornfield of this farmer. His land was an island of green among a sea of devastation. There were other similar miracles by St Vincent where he would bless a field and there would be a miraculously abundant harvest, far above what could be considered possible.

The Miracle of the Bridge

On Good Friday, the year 1410, Master Vincent was in Tortosa praying in the church prior to commencing his preaching. The crowds were immense and had filled the Ebro river bridge which was constructed of boats. The bridge collapsed under the strain and broke in two. A terrible cry, which rose as the masses of people were tossed into the river, reached our Saint in the church. Rising and with unhurried steps, he came to the church porch, then making one Sign of the Cross, repaired the damaged bridge. The people struggling in the water suddenly found themselves back on the shore. The miracle-worker calmly returned to prayer.

The Miracle of the Cross Carved into Marble

The people of Cati had made great preparations before the arrival of St Vincent and his followers, who were coming there from Morella. The people mended the roads he would be traveling on. The neighboring cities sent in large provisions of fish, fowl, eggs and other food which a celebrated cook named Macerot was given charge to prepare. Hundreds went out to great Vincent. In return for their hospitality, when Vincent was leaving the town, he made the Sign of the Cross on the surface of a marble pedestal, which took the imprint of the Sign as if his fingers had been carving very soft wax. “My children,” he said, “I have preached penance to you, now go back to your homes. And to show you that this time I expect my admonitions to be obeyed, I have given you a sign that you cannot erase.”

The Miracle of the Innocent Man heading to Execution

At Pampeluna an innocent man had just been condemned to death. St. Vincent knew of his innocence and pleaded for him, but in vain. As the grim procession led the poor man to the scaffold, they met another procession, that of a man already dead. The corpse was being borne on a stretcher to the burial place. Vincent seemed to have a sudden inspiration. He stopped suddenly and addressed the corpse: "You no longer have anything to gain by lying. Is this man guilty? Answer me!" The dead man sat up, then spoke the words: "He is not!" As the man began to settle down again on his stretcher, Vincent offered to reward him for his service. He gave him the opportunity of remaining alive on earth. But the man responded, "No, Father, for I am assured of salvation." With that he died again as if going to sleep, and they carried his body off to the cemetery.

The Miracle of the Poor Village Inn

Travelers crossing the mountains between Vicq and Granollers found few villages in which to find food, being the villages along this road were small and very poor. St Vincent, with about three thousand followers, were traveling through these mountains when they came to the small village of Locana. They stopped at the door of a poor village inn. The landlord was aghast at seeing the crowd. “Father” he said, “you are bringing an army with you, how can you imagine that we have provisions for so many? I have just five loaves and a flagon of wine, and not the best wine at that.” St Vincent told him “Give what you have, nevertheless, and keep on giving.” The inn-keeper did as he was instructed and found he had ample for the whole company, and that the wine he was serving was of the best. The man was amazed and terrified, but he kept his head, and when the meal was over, he asked Vincent to bless his house. At the blessing, the corn-bin and wine-cellar were miraculously filled anew. There were many such miracles of provisions multiplied. For example, during a journey through Aragon, almost daily the food and drink were miraculously multiplied to serve the needs of those who followed Vincent. 

The Miracle of the Blind Man before the Crucifix

While at Compostello, a young man who was strong and healthy but thoroughly blind, was brought to Master Vincent. Kneeling at the Saint’s feet, the young man implored him to cure him. “Go,” said Vincent, “to the cathedral at Orviedo and there, kneeling before the crucifix, tell Our Lord that I have sent you, ask for your cure and you will be heard.” The blind man did not hesitate, making this long journey as quickly as he could. He went straight to the cathedral, kneeled before the crucifix saying “O Lord, Brother Vincent has sent me to you to be cured.” He then immediately received his sight.

The Miracle of the Shepherd’s Circle

Once while preaching in San Sebastian, there was a shepherd in the mountainside who was anxious to hear St Vincent. So, trusting in the goodness of his purpose, he drew a circle on the ground around his sheep, forbidding them to go outside it until his return. He made his way down into town and joined the crowd of listeners. At the end of Vincent’s sermon, he heard the preacher concluding his comparison with “. . .  just like the Shepherd over there, who has left his flock to take care of themselves after making a circle round them, and forbidding them to leave it . . . ”. The shepherd returned; the flock in the circle.

The Blessings of Protection for Teulada

As Friar Vincent traveled south of Valencia he came to the town of Teulada, not far from Cape Martin. The inhabitants there had for many years suffered the double scourge, a yearly visitation of the plague, and incursions of Muslim pirates. After being beseeched for help, Vincent took a boat out to a rock in mid-sea just outside the harbor. On it he made the Sign of the Cross, saying “Rest assured that pirates will never pass this rock.” On his return to shore, he made his way to a spot outside the village where four crossroads met; from there he blessed the countryside and set up a wayside Cross beyond which he said the plague would never come again. The town was thereafter protected.

The Miracle of Speech which was Taken Back.

There were occasions when our Saint would undo a miracle he had wroth. For example, one day a beggar girl, dumb at birth, was brought to St. Vincent. He asked her: “What do you want, my child?” “My daily bread, and the gift of speech” she answered. The miracle already given. However, Vincent then said “You shall have your daily bread, but as for the gift of speech, you know perfectly well by the bitterness of your thoughts that you would make bad use of it. Go and thank God for what He has done for you, and put out of your mind any idea of asking Him for something which would be bad for you.” The girl bowed her head and went away, and though she continued life dumb, she lived seven more years as a model of patience and piety. 

The Miracles which Occurred at St Vincent’s death

St Vincent Ferrer died the evening of April 5, 1419, the Wednesday of Passion-week. At his dying moments, the windows of the room opened by themselves and a large flock of pure white, beautiful tiny birds, no larger than a butterfly, filled the room and the house. As soon as he breathed his last, they all disappeared leaving a delicious scent. The saint’s body, which reflected the years of fasts and long travels, suddenly became fair and luminous, as though it were living. Another prodigy was that someone who had candles used at the Saint’s Mass, but which had disappeared from a locked box, were discovered back in their box and miraculously lighted at that same time. The Saint’s dead body gave off a piercingly sweet fragrance. The Duchess of Brittany who washed the body, perceived the same sweet odor from the water she had used. This water was carefully preserved and many miracles occurred through its use; while the fragrance remained until the water itself had evaporated.

The Miracles which Occurred immediately following St Vincent’s death

The Saint’s body, clothed in the religious habit, was carried in solemn procession to the Cathedral of Nannes where it was exposed for public veneration. The people witnessed the suppleness of the limbs, the fresh color of the face, and the exquisite perfume which it exhaled. Two dead persons who were placed beside the dead Saint were restored to life, to bear witness to the sanctity of Vincent. The remains of this Saint were placed in a marble vault in the Cathedral of Vannes, France. That evening, a leper was instantly cured after prostrating himself on the slab of the Saint’s tomb. On hearing this, multitudes of invalids followed his example and were also cured. The sculptor who carved the Saint’s tomb, moved by the many healing stories, and who had a leg wound which no remedy could heal, was moved to have recourse to our Saint. He said: “Friend of God, good Father Vincent, pray to God for me!” At that moment his leg pain was gone and in a few days the leg was perfectly healed. Four hundred people recovered their health by merely lying on the bed in which the Saint had died. After he was placed into his tomb there continued to be daily miracles at his tomb. Each Sunday there was a reading of the list of miracles which had occurred the prior week. The bells of the Cathedral would be rung when an extraordinary miracle occurred. 

A few Noteworthy Miracles Associated with St Vincent after his death

After the Saint was canonized on October 1, 1458, his body was transferred from its original vault to a new more expensive tomb. In doing so, they found his body to be incorrupt, unchanged from when it was placed there almost forty years earlier. His body was again exposed for public veneration. During the Mass, two dead persons were covered with the cloak in which St Vincent had been buried, and were restored to life in the presence of the vast congregation. Also, during this Mass, a relative of the Duke of Brittany was cured of leprosy, and a man born blind received his sight.

A cypress tree trunk taken from Vincent’s childhood home, was to be used to carve a wooden statue of the Saint even though it was not quite large enough. It miraculously increased in width and height to the size of a man as it was transported to the carver’s shop. In 1525 some of the bones of this Saint were given to the Dominicans at Valencia. The day they arrived, a young girl blind from birth and very sick, was instantly cured of her sickness and blindness. In 1600 a rib bone of St Vincent was given to the Cathedral of Valencia. On this occasion a crippled woman, who asked for our Saint’s intercession, was suddenly cured, as was a person who was born dumb. In 1836 Naples was suffering a terrible scourge of cholera. The people turned to St. Vincent Ferrer in prayer and penance, and the cholera ceased. Naples decreed that the Saint should be the city patron and had a silver statue made.

A woman of Toulouse, who had for many years been a victim to excruciating pains in her head was cured instantly by the placing the Saint’s hat on her head. A woman, the mother of Theobald Lasset, had her sight restored immediately on making a vow to visit the Saint’s tomb. Four hundred sick persons were cured by merely resting on the couch on which the Saint had lain.

Fifty years after Vincent's death, the twelve year old child of Duchess Leonor de Pimentel, died. The Duchess' confessor, Jean Lopez de Salamanque, counseled the noble lady to invoke his fellow Dominican, the recently canonized St Vincent Ferrer. The mother made a vow to build a church and convent in St. Vincent's honor if her son was restored. As soon as she had formulated her vow, her boy came back to life. The Duchess became very devoted to Vincent and fervently desired that his life, virtues, and miracles be written about. When a grand ceremony was held at the newly finished cathedral, the Duke and Duchess presented their son. It was only then that the raised boy learned of his miraculous resuscitation. This boy grew up to become the Archbishop of Seville, and a Cardinal.

The Miracle of the Murdered Boy and his Father’s Faith

There was a fourteen month old child named Vincent Pistoia who was killed by his mother. His body had been dismembered by the mother. The father, who had a great devotion to St Vincent, in his grief rushed to the tomb of St Vincent and poured his request in tears and prayers. When the hour for closing the church came, the poor man was afraid to go home; but when he did, it was to find his child alive and well in his cradle, yet with the marks of the knife plainly visible, marks which never effaced.  This child would grow up and join the Dominican order on April 15, 1481, spread devotion of St Vincent to Sicily, and lived to the age of 105 years. A living testimony to the miracle.

The Saint’s Appearance to Corn Merchants

In the year 1651, the city of Valencia was in the midst of a famine and in great need of provisions. At that same time there were corn merchants at Cagliari in Sardinia, who had three vessels laden with corn, which they were debating among themselves which port to sail to. They arrived at the convent of St. Dominic where they encountered a strange religious of gentle and dignified bearing, who told them that he was a native of Valencia and that they were in great need due to a famine. The merchants promised to follow his advice. On the morning before setting sail, they went to the convent to pay their respects to the religious and to obtain his blessing. However, when they spoke to the brother porter, they were told that there was no religious from Valencia there. As they were walking away, they noticed a statue of St Vincent and that the statue resembled the man they had met. They arrived at Valencia on January 17th and told the townspeople what had happened. All recognized that St Vincent had appeared to them.

The Saint’s Appearance to a Dying Boy in Valencia

In the year 1701, Valencia was in a severe drought. During this time, an eight year old boy named Vincent Villarasa was suffering from fever and was near the point of death. His father, who had a great devotion to our Saint, and mother were not able to witness their son’s passing. They left the room and had the boy’s aunt there at his bedside. At the moment when the aunt thought the child had breathed its last, the boy was suddenly revived and cried out: “Aunt, the Saint!” “Aunt, the Saint!” The parents and other relatives in the adjacent room, in hearing this, rushed into the room. Seeing the boy well, they inquired who the saint was who appeared to him. He answered: “It is a saint clothed in black and white; he holds his hands pointing towards heaven, and bears on his head a bright flame.” “He told me that I am already cured and that it will rain tomorrow.” The next morning the parents went to the Church of St Dominic to offer thanksgiving to St. Vincent for their son’s miraculous healing. That morning a heavy rain started which lasted for three days.

Some of the Saint’s other Appearances

For a period, St. Vincent would frequently appear to the religious of the Dominican Convent at Valencia. Blessed Dominic Anadon said of that time “during the greater part of the night we have St Vincent in the dormitory, on the side of his old cell.” St. Vincent appeared to Blessed Columba of Rieti to assure her to enter the Third Order of St. Dominic. He appeared to Blessed Magdalen of Panatieri to let her know of her approaching death. He appeared to St. Catherine of Ricci to strengthen her for her approaching agony and death. St. Louis Bertrand had been given many favors by St. Vincent; the final was his appearance to St Louis as he was nearing death. Vincent also appeared to the Blessed John Ribera, the Archbishop of Valencia and a contemporary of St. Bertrand, who spent some time conversing with him, though it was only later that he learned it was St. Vincent. 

The Miracles of the St Vincent’s Physical Appearance

There were many reports and countless witnesses to the various miraculous appearances which St Vincent Ferrer took on. For instance, very frequently when at the pulpit, people would see angels forming a crown around Vincent’s head. While staying at the Benedictine priory at Josselin in Brittany, the monks at night would frequently peer through the chinks in the door of the cell in which St Vincent was staying. There they saw our Saint sleeping on the floor, his face illuminated with a light which lit up the entire room, and his body raised from the ground. These monks let the Count de Rohan also witness this, which resulted in the Count becoming a sincerely pious man.

It is well-attested in documents that multitudes of people witnessed Vincent, while in the middle of his preaching, would suddenly assume wings and fly off. He would then return in the same manner to continue his preaching. This is the reason why there are church sanctioned paintings of him with wings.

On one occasion Queen Violante, who had placed herself under Vincent’s direction, went with her court to visit Brother Vincent in his cell at the convent where he was staying, even though the Queen had been expressly forbidden to do so by Vincent. She was hoping to witness the heavenly light which others had seen of our Saint when he was in prayer. On entering Vincent’s room, she saw no one thought those accompanying her could see him. She called out to Master Vincent and could hear his reply but could not see him. He ordered her to leave the convent, and he followed her as she obeyed. Our Saint then made himself visible to her as she was departing.

On a later occasion Queen Violante again went to witness what she had been told. This time she contented herself to look at Vincent through the chink in the door. There she beheld the Saint absorbed in deep prayer, his face shone with rays of light which illuminated the room. The Queen turning to her ladies said: ”Let us go, let us go, this man is far more holly than we think.”

An Archbishop testified that during the last part of his life, the Saint was an old man worn by his penances and labors. However, once he began to preach, his appearance took on that of a young man full of vigor with a powerful and ringing voice.

The Various Appearances of Jesus, Mary, and St Dominic to St Vincent

After the appearance of Jesus, St. Francis and St Dominic to Vincent in 1396, there are many other appearances which we are aware of. For instance, St Dominic appeared to Vincent while he was sleeping in the convent at Cerveva, Spain to provide encouragement for his continued work. The rays of light surrounding St Dominic were so bright that they awaken Vincent and penetrated the cracks of his cell’s door. Their conversation was loud enough that the monks in the adjacent rooms heard the sound of voices during this time of silence. One of the monks on investigating the sound witnessed the light and the voices coming from Vincent’s room. The next morning our Saint could not conceal the event, but then instructed his fellow monks to keep this secret until after his death. Then in 1415 while in Perpignan, Vincent became very ill and refused medical help, placing his confidence in our Lord. At that time Jesus again appeared to him, cured him and gave Vincent additional instructions. There was also a sacred image of Mary at the convent at Valencia which spoke to Vincent. St Louis Bertrand confirmed this by stating that “It spoke not merely twice or three times, but continually, for Mary dealt with Vincent as the tenderest of mothers”.

The Gift of Prophecy

There were countless prophecies by this great Saint. He foretold of various types of events, from deaths, saints to be, wars which would end, and other events. This gift made him sought after by Popes, Kings, and others. As an example, Vincent once said to a novice, Alphonso Borgia, "You will become Pope and will canonize me." And years later that novice, then Pope Callixtus III, did exactly that. Vincent also told St. Bernardino of Siena, when only a youth, that he (Bernardino) would be canonized before himself--and so it happened.

The Gift to Cast out Demons

Another class of miracles of St. Vincent Ferrer both during his life and after his death, was the expulsion of demons, that of either the possessed or obsessed. He had such power over devils that it was often enough for him to touch a possessed person for him to be freed. The Bollandists state that seventy possessed persons were freed by our Saint. There was the testimony given during the process of inquiry that “when the possessed persons were brought into the Saint’s presence, the demon fled before the usual Exorcism prescribed by the Church was recited.” At times, a possessed person would be freed from the devil merely upon going to the same place as where Vincent was or even simply when Vincent's name was pronounced. After the Saint’s death, it was custom to bring persons so afflicted to the tomb of the Saint, where they were set free.

The Gift of Reading Hearts

St Vincent was given the grace to be able to read people’s souls. For example, when hearing confessions, he would recall the sins which the penitents had forgotten. During his sermons, he would sometimes fix his eyes on individuals who he had never before seen, and then begin to talk about specific sins which these individuals had often committed. It was common for those attending his sermons to say: “This man is truly a saint, for he knows the most hidden secrets of our hearts.” There was a person named Gaja who in asking to be admitted to the Saint’s band of followers, was instructed to sell everything and to give it to the poor. The man did sell everything but gave only half to the poor; secretly retaining the balance for himself. When the man came to Vincent to be admitted, the Saint admonished him for having only given half his money away. Gaja fell to Vincent’s feet, asked for forgiveness, gave away the half he had kept, and joined the company of the Saint. Then there was a pilgrim who had been following with Vincent’s group but who doubted the miracles and conversions he witnessed. He watched carefully so that he might be able to disprove the miraculous events. One day Vincent went to this man and exposed to him all of the secret thoughts in his heart. The man confused and repentant, threw himself on his knees seeking Vincent’s pardon. Lastly, there was a man named Don Ferdinand who outwardly appeared to all to be very pious but who interiorly was not. St Vincent took this man aside and said: “Really, if I did not know that you would one day undertake great hardships for my honour, I would chase you from my company, for you are wicked.” Thereafter, Don Ferdinand embraced the most virtuous life and later became the chaplain to the bishop of Telesia.

St. Vincent Taught the Power of the Sign of the Cross

St Vincent’s miracles typically incorporated the Sign of the Cross. He would make the Sign of the Cross on the foreheads of many seeking healing, make the Sign of the Cross over the sick, or make the Sign towards a violent sky. Once when preaching in the court of the Carmelite convent, it began to rain. He said to the impatient crowd “Come my good people! It is only water, not stones; and in any case, God will provide.” Then Vincent made the Sign of the Cross towards the sky and the clouds parted in two, just as one might make a tear in a piece of cloth. 

Vincent always instructed his listeners to make The Sign frequently; always before and after meals, or when seeking God’s assistance.  He instructed “if you should receive any wound or hurt you should sign it devoutly with the Sign of the Cross”, and to make The Sign clearly and not in a circular motion.

He would always begin his preaching by making this Sign towards the crowds. When asked why, he explained: “I will answer a question which has been put to me: Why, before I begin Mass, do I make a Sign of the Cross in the direction of those who listen to me who are standing on any raised platforms? For thirteen years I have preached in the open and these things have happened to me. In Savoy on Christmas Day, I was preaching in the castle where the count and countess were staying. Right above the great hall were windows and doors, in the middle of the sermon one of the doors fell on my auditors and did not more harm than if it had been a match. In another town, there was a very high balcony which could only be reached by a mere catwalk; the balcony fell harmlessly on the crowd. At Reus near Tarragona a balcony fell without hurting anyone. At Chinchilla we were delivered from a still greater peril. That is why you must not be astonished when you see me make the Sign of the Cross. No danger can lead to harm if that sign is made.” It should be noted here that there are at least a dozen other accounts of platforms collapsing, or balconies falling which resulted in no harm. All those involved in these incidents knew these were miracles of their own.

St. Vincent taught the use Holy Water

In Vincent’s miracles we also see the power of Holy Water. We see how he stopped storms using Holy Water while making the Sign of the Cross. Master Vincent would frequently instruct his listeners to make liberal use of this sacramental while also invoking the name of Jesus. He would instruct farmers to sprinkle Holy Water on their crops to protect against pestilence or unfavorable weather. “You do not realize what potent means the Church puts at your disposal; use holy water with faith and your land will be safe.” Vincent would say.

St. Vincent Taught to Trust in God

In reading about the miracles of Master Vincent, we can be strengthened in both our faith and in our trust in God. We see that all things are possible whether that is restoring dismembered bodies, providing food, or stopping violent storms. Truly, anything is possible for those who believe. We also see the need to make acts of faith, whether that is prayer, using Holy Water, making the Sign of the Cross, or traveling to a church. St. Vincent spoke these words in one of his sermons regarding trust in God: “The next morsel is confidence in God. When the Apostles were in despair because they could not provide food for the multitude, Christ wished to provide it in an unusual way so that we may realize that, however desperate the situation may appear, we must never despair of God’s help but have great confidence, not following the farmers who say: ‘If it does not rain we shall have no grain this year.’ For such have no confidence in God nor a right intention, for God can give not only wheat in the fields, but even in the granaries. The same holds good with regard to wine or anything else. That He does not give it is due to our lack of confidence. . . .  Confide therefore in God as your Father, and seek His honor and justice, that is by sorrow for sins and confidence in Him.”

The Sacrament of Confession essential for salvation

We can see how the Sacrament of Confession is necessary for salvation, and not the sacrament of Last Rites. St. Vincent worked miracles to give people a chance to make a worthy confession; knowing that if they did so, they would be saved. Vincent constantly told people that the troubles they were encountering were due to their not obeying the Divine Law. That mankind must turn away from sin and do penance; this was the holy mission Jesus had given him. Thus by making a worthy confession and obeying the Commandments, we are saved.

St Vincent taught that we must not Mock God

We learn from St Vincent Ferrer that one must never mock the gifts God has given to His servants. As has happened in similar cases, on one occasion a boy pretended to be dead, while his friends snickered. The friends called our Saint to help them as that their friend was dead. St. Vincent leaned over and shook what was now a corpse! Vincent said: "He pretended to be dead to amuse you, but evil has come upon him; he is dead!" A cross was erected in that spot to commemorate that event. Such events should instill in all a reverence for our priests who, like Vincent, have been given special powers.

Faith and The Threat of the Galloping Horses

At Murcia, where Vincent preached on Easter Eve, a strange event happened. He was preaching in the great square and there were about ten thousand persons listening. Suddenly, everyone heard the approaching gallop of horses accompanied by wild neighing. Soon the people saw a cloud of dust, and in the midst of the cloud they could distinctly see approaching three horses, covered in foam, with fiery eyes, flying manes, and distended nostrils. Forward these animals thundered until they were not more than twenty paces away from the dense mass of people. There was a moment of almost unendurable terror. “Make the Sign of the Cross!,” cried our Saint, and ten thousand hands were raised at once. The preacher himself blessed the crowd in the direction of the danger. At this the three horses stopped dead, and then turning quickly, made off in another direction; and for a long time the thunder of their hoofs could be distinctly heard. “Those horses,” Vincent told the petrified crowd, “are not animals but supernatural beings, the evil spirits who for too long a time have been masters of this town, thanks to the three chief vices which reign here. They were so furious to see your souls escaping them that they have made one last attempt to injure, or at least to terrify you. But, as you have just seen, an act of faith is stronger than all the powers of hell.” 

St. Vincent – A View of an Apostle’s life 

In hearing of the many miraculous gifts God bestowed on St. Vincent, we can gain a better understanding of what it would have been like to encounter St. Paul or one of the other Apostles. In the Acts of the Apostles and other writings we are provided just hints of their wonderous powers. Thanks to the careful records of the life of St Vincent, we can gain a better sense of what the Twelve were like. We could imagine The Twelve working miracles every day as testimony of the truth of their word. How their preaching would have been understood by all, no matter what language they spoke. How their words would have been a channel of grace providing for the conversion of thousands. We should give thanks to God for having given His Church one more apostle, that of St Vincent Ferrer.

Some Saints who had devotion to St. Vincent Ferrer

Lastly, it is helpful to tell of some noteworthy saints who had devotion to Vincent Ferrer. The patron saint of St Vincent de Paul was St. Vincent Ferrer. St Leonard of Port Maurice, who was also an extraordinary preacher, placed all of his work under the protection of St. Vincent Ferrer. St Louis Bertrand had a deep devotion to our Saint. Blessed Nicholas Factor told all who asked for his advice, to pray to St Vincent Ferrer and that our Saint would assist them. So, let us also take heed of such advice and include St. Vincent Ferrer in our prayers and requests for intercessions.

Miracles and the Certitude of Catholic Faith (from a sermon by St Vincent Ferrer)

“He who wishes to prove any law ought to examine two things, first if it has been approved by divine authority, secondly, if it has been observed by human sanctity. In regard to the first, it is certain that God is not a lying witness.   . . .  the Truths of Faith are signed by miracles which can be worked by none but God.   . . .  such as giving sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, raising the dead to life.”

From the sermon on the Last Judgement: Those who Live by the Flesh

“Those who live according to reason are men; those who follow their senses are beasts; the proud are lions; the avaricious foxes; the sensual pigs; the envious dogs; the greedy are wolves; the angry snakes or vipers; the lazy donkeys. Therefore the house of this world is corrupt, unclean and infected.  .  .  . Therefore it must be cleansed and purified. . . . We do not notice the foulness of this world because we have been born and bred in this ill-savored place  . . .”

St Vincent Ferrer – The Angel of the Apocalypse

While preaching at Salamanca to several thousands, St Vincent said: “I am the Angel announced by St. John in the Apocalypse, that Angel who shall preach to all peoples, to all nations, in every tongue, and say to them: ‘Fear the Lord, and give Him honour, because the hour of His judgment is come.’ ” This was the task given to him when Jesus, St Francis and St Dominic appeared on October 3, 1396, in Avignon. The world had become so corrupted that St. Ferrer said “No, I do not believe that there ever existed in the world so much pomp and vanity, so much impurity, as at the present day; to find in the world’s history an epoch so criminal, we must go back to the days of Noah and the universal flood.” 

He was instructed to preach repentance and conversion; that this would be a merciful occasion from God before the coming of the Antichrist. Our Saint thought that the end of this age, the General Judgement and the return of Jesus was not long in coming. So, why didn’t the end come back in the 1400’s? Was our Saint wrong? Hard to answer this. One thought is that due to the great conversion away from sin which occurred, God held back his wrath; allowing more opportunity for souls to find heaven. Or perhaps it is our earthly concept of time which makes us feel that events foretold in prophecy need to occur in a few years, instead of hundreds of years. One thing which is certain, that St Vincent was the Angel of the Apocalypse spoken of by St John in his writings. I doubt God will send another since we have so thoroughly ignored the one He already sent.

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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why is he called Angel of the Apocalypse?
And why do you think he is not better known?
He’s an amazing Saint!

Anonymous said...

I have the same question after reading about him ...I would like to find out!

Anonymous said...

Why St Ferrer was called the Angle of the Apocalypse
While preaching at Salamanca to several thousands, St Vincent said: “I am the Angel announced by St. John in the Apocalypse, that Angel who shall preach to all peoples, to all nations, in every tongue, and say to them: ‘Fear the Lord, and give Him honour, because the hour of His judgment is come.’ ” This was the task given to him when Jesus, St Francis and St Dominic appeared on October 3, 1396, in Avignon. The world had become so corrupted that St. Ferrer said “No, I do not believe that there ever existed in the world so much pomp and vanity, so much impurity, as at the present day; to find in the world’s history an epoch so criminal, we must go back to the days of Noah and the universal flood.” He was instructed to preach repentance and conversion; that this would be a merciful occasion from God before the coming of the Antichrist. Our Saint thought that the end of this age, the General Judgement and the return of Jesus was not long in coming. So, why didn’t the end come back in the 1400’s? Was our Saint wrong? Hard to answer this. One thought is that due to the great conversion away from sin which occurred, God held back his wrath; allowing more opportunity for souls to find heaven. Or perhaps it is our earthly concept of time which makes us feel that events foretold in prophecy need to occur in a few years, instead of hundreds of years. One thing which is certain, that St Vincent was the Angel of the Apocalypse spoken of by St John in his writings. I doubt God will send another since we have so thoroughly ignored the one He already sent.

Jeff Apodaca

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