By Mel Mantanona
Mark Rey was born in 1577 in present-day Germany. He became a lawyer with a strong voice for poor and oppressed people and was given the nickname “the poor man’s lawyer.” Soon after, he became disgusted with the corruption and inequity he saw in other lawyers and abandoned his career to become a priest with the Capuchin Franciscan Order.
Upon entering the order, he took the name Fidelis, Latin for “faithful,” and continued to serve the poor and needy. His inheritance he used for impoverished seminarians and the poor.
In 1614, the Capuchins were asked by a Swiss bishop to come to Switzerland and preach to the locals who had been converting into Calvinist Protestantism. Seven years later, Fidelis was sent there. He spent the rest of his time there until death preaching. By the help of the Capuchins, a lot of Catholics came back into the Church.
One day while preaching, a riot broke out at a church and a gunshot was fired at Fidelis but he fled uninjured. He declined help from a Protestant and was confronted by a mob to choose between his beliefs and life. He refused to renounce his beliefs and was beaten and stabbed to death.
Fidelis died a martyr in 1622 and was canonized in 1746. His feast day is April 24.
St. Fidelis’ zeal for Catholicism was exemplary, and he serves as a great example for us all to persevere in our Catholic faith despite the circumstances we are surrounded by. Let us pray through St. Fidelis’ intercession for the courage to live out our faith.
Information and photo from http://www.catholic.org/saints and the Catholic News Agency