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St. John Gualbert

Saint John Gualbert, whose Feast Day is July 12th, tried to tell the Pope of his day that the Archbishop of Florence had obtained his office by simony (paying for it). The Pope listened to him as did another saint of that time, Saint Peter Damien, but they weren’t convinced.

So Saint John Gualbert went back to Vallombrosa, and there he received a special inspiration from God to work a miracle to prove what he was saying was true. It was a most dramatic miracle, one certainly not to be undertaken unless you’re sure of your inspiration...

St. John Gualbert had a big fire built. He called all the townsmen to come and witness that God was going to witness between him and the Archbishop of Florence and to see who was right. He was calling God as his witness since man would not pay attention.

Saint John Gualbert promised positive public proof to everyone that the Archbishop of Florence was not worthy of the high office he had. He was calling God to judge between him and the bad Archbishop. He asked God to work the Miracle of preserving one of his monks from otherwise certain death as proof that he was right.

And so when this fire was built and ready, and the townspeople were assembled, Saint John Gualbert ordered Brother Saint Ignace under holy obedience, to walk through the fire.

Now God worked the miracle of this man walking through a huge bonfire. He would have died, obviously, had God not protected him. He came out unscathed and unburnt on the other side and the people realized their obligation before this witness that God had given them. They knew beyond any shadow of a doubt that the Archbishop was a bad man who had paid a bribe to be appointed bishop. It now was their obligation to drive that Archbishop out of town, which is what they did that very same day.

And so for those who tell you that the Third Secret is not important, or it’s not meant for you to know, or there’s nothing you can do about these things, you must realize that the people of Florence in the time of Saint John Gualbert were called upon to save the Church and the Diocese of Florence from a bad shepherd.

Reflection – The heroic act which merited for St. John Gualbert his conversion was the forgiveness of his enemy. Let us imitate him in this virtue, resolving never to revenge ourselves in deed, in word, or in thought. Quoted from the book Lives of the Saints, by Fr. Alban Butler.

For more about St. John Gualbert’s conversion, read the story of his life in Lives of the Saints

Taken from Lives of the Saints For Every Day In the Year, by Fr. Alban Butler (Tan Books and Purblishers, Inc., 1995)