Saint John of Capestrano: Franciscan Preacher, Reformer

On October 23, the Church remembers Saint John of Capestrano [John Capistran] (1386-1456), a Franciscan friar who had a prominent and multifaceted ministry as a preacher and reformer in 15th-century Europe.

Walking line between zeal and fanaticism

Several years ago, Fr. Steve Grunow accurately described him: “John was a Franciscan friar and priest, but not of the good-natured variety of Franciscans that holds the popular imagination. To describe John as zealous would be an understatement. He walked the fine line between zeal and fanaticism, allowing God to write straight with the crooked lines he drew throughout his life."

Young life scarred by violence

Born in 1386 in Capestrano in the Abruzzo region of Italy, John lived a young life scarred by violence. His father, a knight, and all his brothers were killed in one of the bloody civil conflicts so common in Italy at the time. He later spoke of

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