Saint Nicholas of Tolentino - 10th September

St. Nicholas, who always appears with a star on his chest and was born in Sant’ Anġlu at Pontano and lived for thirty years at Tolentino, is considered to be the first and most prominent saint of the Augustinian Order. In 1256, the ‘Grand Union’ year, Nicholas was eleven years old and, soon after, was attracted to religious life. His holiness was built on a hard life, ceaseless prayer, voluntary penitence, and a common and perfect life combined with poverty and good behaviour with everyone. He had a strong affection for those materially and spiritually poor.

He is said to have been a miracle worker because of his strong ability to seek God’s intercession as also as a protector of the Souls in Purgratory and a patron against the plague and fires. The great devotion he had towards the Mother of God gave birth to the idea of “the bread of St. Nicholas”. Sacred pictures of this saint reflect the various forms of these characteristics.

His slim figure, his smiling face full of mercy, his sweet looks full of peace. That is how the artists in Giotto’s time painted him soon after his death, revealing his personality, rendering him like a bother, giving us courage and helping us follow him.

The Augustinian family considered St. Nicholas as a model of holiness. In fact, St. Nicholas accomplished the proposal made to the Holy See when it was decided to combine various groups of hermits into one Order that offered a little of everything – from contemplation to discipleship, from seeking God and the problems of mankind – in one word that religious life becomes a Christian life for God’s people.

“He was a relief for those in debt, consolation for those oppressed, helper of the poor, the prime remedy for prisoners and the sick.  He used to have great pity for sinners. He used to pray, fast, sanctify and pray before God for the many who used to confess to him their sins, that they may be relieved of the darkness of sin”. (Giordano of Sassonja).

He death was a triumph. Twenty years later, in 1325, the case for his canonization was started. The documents, about 371 in all, and printed material were presented to the Pope in 1326. However, he was declared a saint in 1446.

His remains are in the sanctuary of Tolentino.


Pietro Bellini o.s.a.

Acta SS. Septembris, III, Venice 1761, 636-743 (con la “Vita” di Pietro di Monterrubiano, 644-664); De inventione et reconitione reliquirum S. Nicolai a T., in AA. 13 (1929-30) 40-53; GENTILI, D., OSA., Un asceta e un apostolo, S.N. da T., Milan 1966 (2a ed. 1978); ID., N.da T., santo, in BS., IX, Rome 1967 (rist. 1989), 956-968; Il processo per la canonizzazione di S. N. Da T., Rome 1984; TRAPÈ, A., OSA., S.N. da T., un contempaltivo e un apostolo, Milano 1985; S. N., Tolentino, Le Marche. Contributi e ricerche sul Processo (a. 1325) per la Canonizzazione di S. N. da T., Tolentino 1987; ALONSO, C., OSA., Saggio bibliografico su S. N. da T., Tolentino 1991; Il Cappellone di S. N. da T., Milan 1992.

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