April 5 is the feast of St. Vincent Ferrer, a renowned Spanish Dominican missionary who converted thousands of Europeans to Catholicism. He is the patron saint of: builders, plumbers, and construction workers.
Vincent was born in Valencia, Spain, in 1350 and entered the Dominican Order at the age of 17. After years of study in Toulouse, in 1379, he was retained by Cardinal Pedro de Luna, legate of the Court of Aragon, who was trying to win the king to the obedience of the Avignon pontiff.
When France withdrew from the obedience of Avignon in September 1398 and the troops of Charles VI laid siege to the city, St. Vincent was struck by a fever that nearly killed him. He was miraculously cured after having an apparition of Christ, accompanied by St. Dominic and St. Francis. He began his preaching ministry again in November 1399, and for 20 years was a missionary in Western Europe.
He was responsible for the conversion of thousands in the different regions of France, Switzerland, Spain and Italy, including an estimated 25,000 Jews. He had a huge following, and his crowds would sometimes number 10,000 people.
Vincent lived austerely, sleeping on the floor, perpetually fasting, and waking at two in the morning to chant the Divine Office. He celebrated Holy Mass daily and sometimes preached for three hours afterwards. He died April 5, 1419 at the age of 69. He was canonized by Pope Calixtus III in 1455.
Do you desire to study to your advantage? Let devotion accompany all your studies, and study less to make yourself learned than to become a saint. Consult God more than your books, and ask him, with humility, to make you understand what you read. Study fatigues and drains the mind and heart. Go from time to time to refresh them at the feet of Jesus Christ under his cross. Some moments of repose in his sacred wounds give fresh vigor and new lights. Interrupt your application by short, but fervent and ejaculatory prayers: never begin or end your study but by prayer. Science is a gift of the Father of lights; do not therefore consider it as barely the work of your own mind or industry.
~ St. Vincent Ferrer