October 18, 2017

Saint Peter of Alcantara, Mystic and Reformer

Saint Peter of Alcantara

According to the 1962 Missal of Saint John XXIII, October 19th, is the feast of Saint Peter of Alcantara, (1499 -1562) the 16th century priest known for his gifts of contemplation and the virtue of penance. He was one of Saint Teresa of Avila's spiritual directors who perceived in her a soul chosen by God for a great work. He counseled and encouraged St. Teresa in her reformation of the Carmelite Order.

Peter, surnamed Alcantara after the town of his birth, was eminent among the saints of the sixteenth century for an extraordinary spirit of penance and for attaining the heights of contemplation. He was a great mystic. At the age of sixteen he entered the Order of Friars Minor. He was an apostle of spiritual reform in his own community and aided St. Teresa in her reform of the Carmelites. God revealed to her that no one would remain unheard who begged in Peter's name.

Thereafter Teresa was most eager to have his prayers and honored him as a saint while he was still alive. With great humility Peter shunned all favors from eminent personages, even though they esteemed him as the mouthpiece of God or asked his counsel; for instance, he declined the request to act as confessor to Charles V.

Although she was at quite a distance at the time of her esteemed mentor's death, St. Teresa saw his soul entering heaven. Later he would appear to her and say: "O happy penances which won for me such blessedness! Lord Jesus Christ, Who said: "Ask and ye shall receive", and Who revealed to your servant St.Teresa, that whatever should be asked of you in the name of Blessed Peter of Alcantara would be granted, full of confidence in your promises, we humbly ask you, grant by the intercession of St. Peter of Alcantara all that our souls require. Amen.

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