Paschal Baylon: “Saint of the Holy Eucharist”
The saint of the day for May 17th is St. Paschal Baylon (May 24, 1540 – May 15, 1592), a lay brother and Spanish mystic.
Born in a small village in between Castille and Aragon in Spain, on Pentecost in 1540, he was christened Pascua (meaning “the pasch of the Holy Ghost”) in honor of the feast. As a young man, until he was twenty-four years old, he worked as a shepherd for his poor, but pious family. During this time, he lived a life of penance and showed great devotion for the Holy Eucharist.
In 1564, Paschal joined the Friars Minor and chose to be a lay brother. He became part of the community of St. Peter of Alcantara, who was very instrumental in the life and spirituality of St. Teresa of Avila, who was living at that time. Paschal spent most of his life as a humble door keeper. He also served as a porter, cook, gardener, and official beggar at various times. His charity to the poor and afflicted, his unfailing courtesy and humility were remarkable even by Franciscan standards. While on a mission to France, he defended the Real Presence against the blasphemies of a Calvinist preacher, and narrowly escaped death at the hands of a Huguenot mob. Poorly educated, he served as a counselor sought out by rich and poor alike.
Paschal spent many hours before the Holy Eucharist. During his lifetime he was known by all as “the Saint of the Holy Eucharist”. He spent most of the night at the foot of the altar on his knees, or prostrate on the ground. In prayer, he was often favored with ecstasies and raptures. He died at Villa Reale, near Valentia, on May 17, 1592, at the age of fifty-two. As he lay dead in his casket, he opened and closed his eyes twice when the sacred species were elevated at the consecration. His body was exposed three days, during which time a vast number of people visited the church, witnessing to his many miracles.
St. Paschal Baylon was beatified by Pope Paul V in 1618, and canonized by Alexander VIII. in 1690. He is the patron of cooks, shepherds, and Eucharistic congresses.
St. Paschal Baylon Quotes
“Meditate well on this: Seek God above all things. It is right for you to seek God before and above everything else, because the majesty of God wishes you to receive what you ask for. This will also make you more ready to serve God and will enable you to love him more perfectly.”
“God is as really present in the consecrated Host as He is in the glory of Heaven.”