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Blessed John of Fermo

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More often called JOHN OF LA VERNA, from his long sojourn on that holy mountain, b. at Fermo in the Marches, 1259; d. at La Verna in Tuscany, 10 August, 1322. After a youth of precocious piety, he was received at the age of ten among the Canons of St. Peter's at Fermo. Three years later, desirous of leading a more austere life, he entered the Order of Friars Minor, and under the direction of the celebrated brother, James of Fallerone, soon made rapid progress in perfection. Shortly after his profession, John was sent by the minister general to Mount La Verna, where St. Francis had received the stigmata, and there he spent many years in solitude, penance, and contemplation, being favoured with ecstasies and celestial visions. His late years, however, were devoted to the Apostolic ministry, and he preached at Florence, Pisa, Siena, Arezzo, Perugia, and many other towns of northern and central Italy, working wonders everywhere. His contemporaries relate much of Blessed John: they tell us that he enjoyed the gift of infused science, and that prelates and princes alike were astounded at his learning. He was linked in bonds of the warmest friendship with Jacopone of Todi, and administered the last sacraments to the dying poet in 1306. John is said to have composed the preface which is said in the Mass of St. Francis. Feeling the approach of death at Cortona while on his way to Assisi, John returned to La Verna and died there at the age of sixty-three. He was buried on the holy mountain, where many miracles were wrought through his intercession, and where his cell is still shown. The immemorial cultus of Blessed John was approved by Leo XIII in 1880, and his feast is kept in the Order of Friars Minor on 9 August.

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