From Bret Thoman, SFO
On pilgrimages, we often journey to Monteprandone, the birthplace of St. James of the Marches. Although he lived a remarkable life and accomplished many great things, he is not very well known. Katia and I were fortunate to have discovered him because of the O.F.M. provincial minister of the Marches region, Fr. Ferdinando Campana. In the summer of 2004, he took us on a pilgrimage throughout his region, where we saw the incorrupt body of this saint and learned about his life.
Saint James of the Marches was born in 1393 in the hill town of Monteprandone, in the lower part of the Marches region overlooking the Adriatic Sea. His parents were poor, but they loved him very much. They baptized him with the name, Domenico, meaning ‘of the Lord’ (from Latin, Dominus). As a boy, they placed him under the care of his uncle, a priest, who provided for his education. Domenico studied in nearby Offida and Ascoli Piceno and later graduated from the University of Perugia in 1412 with a as a Doctor of civil law…St. James of the Marches (1391-1476) Feast Day: November 28
“Try always to advance more in charity; enlarge your heart with confidence for the divine gifts which the Holy Spirit is anxious to pour into it.” Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina
St. James of the Marches was born in Monteprandone in 1393 and died in Naples in 1476. As a youth, he studied law in Perugia (near Assisi) and worked as a judge in Bibbiena (Tuscany). Around 20 years of age, on Good Friday, he felt the desire to give his life to God. He left everything and became a Franciscan friar. For more than 20 years, he preached throughout Italy, Bosnia, and Hungary. He worked tirelessly: he negotiated peace within cities at war; he created Monti di Pietà, a lending institution to poor people to combat usury; he converted many prostitutes; he fought against sorcery, superstition and against dangerous cults that were spreading among uneducated people; with the power of his word and example, he brought thousands of people back to the joy of true faith and love of God. From 2001, his incorrupt body has been conserved in the sanctuary of Monteprandone in a chapel dedicated to him. It was frescoed by A. Cicchi and M. Pesarini, with scenes that depict the virtues of the saint and the vow of the people of Monteprandone during the last war. The stone arch is from 1500. A new bronze urn that conserves the remains of the saint is the work of P. Casentini.
St. James of the Marches is venerated particularly as a strong protector of children. Among the hundreds of miracles done in life and after death, through today, many involve children. The most famous is the one that took place in Brescia where he resuscitated a child who had been dead for three days.
Next to the friary of Monteprandone is a splendid 16th century cloister and cistern. Around the cloister, are 25 frescoes representing episodes from the life of St. James, painted in 1848. Next to the cloister is a museum, which conserves relics of St. James.