May 24: Blessed John of Prado

Blessed John of Prado was born into a noble family in Spain in the late sixteenth century. He became a Franciscan friar with the great hope of bringing the Gospel to those who had never heard it before, but his superiors first ordered him to preach in his native country. He was a humble, holy, and gifted priest, so it was probably out of jealousy that cruel gossip about him later caused him to be relieved of his position as superior. But when the lies were proved to be lies soon afterward, John was restored to his position and even made minister of a new Franciscan province in Spain.

A plague caused the death of many Franciscan friars serving in Morocco in north Africa, so John begged to be sent to serve there. When he arrived, he immediately began serving the Christian slaves living in the country, particularly by administering the sacraments to them. The Muslim authorities arrested John, along with the priest and brother who accompanied him, and put them to work at slave labor.

He was brought out of prison and interrogated by the local sultan on two occasions. John was scourged after the first examination because he tried to explain the Christian faith to the sultan. During the second interrogation, John turned to talk to Christians in the room who had apostatized and become Muslims, rather than addressing the sultan. In anger, the sultan struck him, had him shot with arrows, and then had him burned to death. John died on this date in 1636.

Blessed John, teach me how to forgive.

Posted in Saint of the day and tagged .