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Saint Juan De Sahagún


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Feast Day: June 11

Death: June 11, 1479
Saint Juan de Sahagún, also known as Giovanni da San Facondo, John of Saint Facundo, John of Saint Fagondez, John Gonzalez de Castrillo, John of Saint Facun, or San Fagondez, was born in 1419 in Sahagun, Leon, Spain. He was the son of John Gonzalez de Castrillo and Sancia Martinez and was the oldest of seven children. His birth was regarded as a miraculous event since his parents had been sterile for sixteen years prior to his arrival. Saint Juan was raised in a pious and well-to-do family. He received his education from the Benedictines at Fagondez abbey in Sahagun, where he developed a strong foundation in the faith. In 1445, he was ordained as a priest and held several benefices in the diocese of Burgos, Spain. However, unlike many others of his class, John did not view his vocation solely as a profession. He felt a genuine call to serve others and live a holy life, giving most of the proceeds from his benefices to the poor. During his time as a priest, Saint Juan studied at the University of Salamanca and later at Burgos. His life took a significant turn when he fell seriously ill and underwent major surgery. Following his recovery, he joined the Augustinian Order as a canon at Salamanca on June 18, 1463. He made his final profession on August 28, 1464, and assumed the roles of novice-master and Definitor of his province. In 1471, Saint Juan became the prior of the Augustinian Order in Salamanca. He was well-known for his deep devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, often experiencing visions during Mass. He would see the Host surrounded by light and occasionally have visions of the bodily form of Christ at the moment of consecration. These spiritual experiences often led to lengthy Masses. Additionally, he was reported to levitate during his prayers and had the ability to read hearts during confession, making him a sought-after spiritual director. Saint Juan was also recognized for his exceptional preaching skills, which had a significant impact on improving social conditions in Salamanca. His sermons denounced sinful living conditions and advocated for the rights and dignity of workers, earning him opposition from some local leaders. One notable incident occurred when a duke in Alba de Tormes attempted to hire assassins to eliminate him. However, upon encountering Saint Juan's holiness, the assassins refrained from carrying out their mission. Instead, they confessed to him and sought his forgiveness. Later, when the duke fell ill, he was healed through Saint Juan's intercession. Despite his impact and numerous miracles attributed to him, Saint Juan faced resistance from some local women. When he preached against wasting resources on extravagant fashions, these women hurled stones at him in the streets. Nevertheless, his dedication to his faith and the well-being of others did not waver. One of the miracles associated with Saint Juan's intercession occurred when a child fell into a well in Salamanca. Despite the efforts of the locals, they were unable to rescue the child. They summoned Saint Juan, who placed his waistband on the stone wall of the well and prayed for the child's safety. Miraculously, the water level in the well rose, floating the child to safety. Saint Juan de Sahagún passed away on June 11, 1479, in Salamanca, Spain, due to natural causes. However, rumors suggest he may have been poisoned by a woman whose lover, a nobleman, ended their relationship after hearing one of Saint Juan's powerful sermons. This led some to consider him a martyr. His relics are venerated in churches in Spain, Belgium, and Peru. Saint Juan de Sahagún's beatification took place on June 15, 1601, by Pope Clement VIII, followed by his canonization on October 16, 1690, by Pope Alexander VIII. Additionally, he was beatified again on September 28, 1651, by Pope Innocent X. Today, Saint Juan de Sahagún is recognized as the patron saint of Salamanca, Spain, both the city and the diocese. His profound devotion, his lifelong commitment to serving the poor, and his tireless preaching have left an enduring legacy in the Catholic Church.