James Gangala was born at Montebrandone, Ancona. He studied law and then joined the Franciscans at Assisi in 1416. He studied under St. Bernardino of Siena at Fiesole, was ordained when he was twenty-nine, and became an effective and forceful preacher. He worked as a missionary with St. John Capistran in Italy and in Germany, Bohemia, Poland, and Hungary, and in 1426, with John, was named inquisitor against the Fraticelli by Pope St. Martin V. They destroyed thirty-six Fraticelli houses, and their severity (some of the Fraticelli were burned at the stake) and their tactics resulted in great violence and caused many objections. James attended the Council of Basle-Florence, and helped reconcile Hussites, but was unsuccessful in attempts to reconcile the Observant and Conventual Franciscans. In 1456, he was sent to Austria and Hungary to combat the Hussites. He refused offer of the See of Milan, and in 1462 became involved with the Inquisition because of a sermon he preached at Brescia. The case caused a sensation and was referred to Rome; silence was imposed on all parties, and no decision was ever rendered. He died in Naples, where he spent the last three years of his life, on November 28th. He was canonized in 1726 as St. James of the Marches. His feast day is November 28th.
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By Justin Soutar
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