May 18th: Blessed Gerard Mecatti
Religious of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, now also known as of Rhodes and of Malta
Blessed Gerard was born at Villamagna near Florence about 1174. Loyally he followed his feudal lord to Palestine for the defense of Christendom, and there became a ‘serving bother’ in the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. After returning home, he met Saint Francis of Assisi and from his hands received the habit of the Friars Minor.
However he did not leave the Order of Saint John and all his life he continued to wear the white Cross of the Order on his habit. He lived as a hermit in penance and prayer. On his deathbed he asked for some cherries. Although it was much too early in the season, a good sister went to look and found in a small enclosure a cherry tree full of ripe fruit as fresh as in June.
He died about 1245. Although the exact date of his death is uncertain, his memorial is kept every year on May 18 at Villamagna, where his body is.
Blessed Gerard you gave us the great example of loyalty, of bravery in the defense of Christendom, of service to God’s sick and poor, and of personal spiritual development. Pray that all members of our Order may follow your example.
O God, who called Blessed Gerard, like your own son, to intense striving in the wilderness, strengthen us by penance and prayer and make us fitter for our Christian duties. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ your son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
This information was provided by Fra’ James-Michael von Stroebel. Click here to view the complete Calendar of Liturgical Celebrations Proper to the Order.