Saint of the Day – 7 August – St Cajetan – Founder of the Theatine Order – Priest, Confessor, Reformer, Doctor of Civil and Canon Law, Diplomat, Mystic, Miracle Worker, apostle of the sick and the poor. Known as the “Father of Providence” and the “Huntsman of Souls” – (October 1480 at Vicenza, Italy as Gaetano dei Conti di Tiene – 1547 at Naples, Italy of natural causes) – Beatified on 8 October 1629 by Pope Urban VIII and Canonised on 12 April 1671 by Pope Clement X. Patronages – bankers; gamblers; unemployed people; workers; non-gamblers; document controllers; job seekers; Albania; Italy; Ħamrun (Malta); Argentina; Brazil; El Salvador; Guatemala.
St Cajetan was born of a noble family in Vicenza, Italy. He was the youngest of three sons born to Don Gaspar di Thiene and Dona Maria di Porto.
He studied civil and Canon Law at the University of Padua and moved to Rome where he worked in the Court of Julian II. He assisted at the fifth Council of the Lateran. He was ordained a priest and became part of the “company of Divine Love.” In 1518 he returned to Vicenza. After the death of his mother, he dedicated himself to the founding and directing of hospitals to treat the syphiletics in Vicenza, Verona and Venice. With his own hands he cared for the sick. Such zeal did he show for the salvation of his fellowmen that he was surnamed the “huntsman for souls.”
In 1524, with Juan Pedro Carrafa, Bishop of Chieti, he founded the Clerics Regular who later would be called the Theatines. One of the four men who joined him in his new order, Juan Pedro mentioned above, went on to become the pope (Pope Paul IV). The Theatines, as they were later to become, were to be a community of priests who were to lead an apostolic life. They were to look with disdain all earthly belongings, to accept no salaries from the faithful; only from that which was freely donated were they allowed to retain the means of livelihood. St Cajetan was tortured during the plunder of Rome in 1527 (the torturers hoping to obtain his inheritance which had long before been spent on the poor and sick), Cajetan later returned to Venice where for three years he directed the Religious Institute he had founded. In 1533, where he established a centre for opposing the spread of Lutheranism in Naples. He eventually extended that mission to the city of Verona where he would die fourteen years later in 1547. It was in this city that he planted the yeast of reform that made him worthy of the devotion with which the Neopolitans have always awarded him. He founded a bank to help the poor and offer an alternative to usurers (loan sharks). It later became the Bank of Naples. His concern for the unemployed, giving them the necessary financial help in their time of need, made him their patron. Later in his life, Saint Cajetan would introduce the Forty Hours’ Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, as an antidote to the heresy of Calvin. In 1629, Urban VIII authorised public worship to Cajetan and on April 12, 1671, Clement X inscribed him in the catalogue of Saints.
St Cajetan often prayed eight hours daily. On Christmas Eve at the Church of Saint Mary Major he was greeted with his first vision of Our Blessed mother. When he entered the church he saw the Mary, radiant with light, who came to him and placed Her divine Infant in his arms. These are the words he used to describe his vision: “….I boldly found myself, at the time of the Holy Nativity, in this crib; to give me courage I had with me Saint Jerome my father, who had the crib so close to his heart and whose remains were placed at the entrance of the same crib; and with a little bit of encouragement from the old man (St. Joseph), from the hands of the Virgin Mary, I took into my arms that little Baby: the Eternal Word Who became flesh. My heart was really hard, you must believe me, because if it were not as hard as a diamond, it was sure to liquefy at that moment… patience…”
St Cajetan is the “Heart” of the Catholic reformation, the founder of the Clerics Regular (Theatines) and the “Great Man and Great Saint” that Christians acclaim as “The Father of Providence” for he aids those who invoke him in their needs with great miracles.
Prayer of Saint Cajetan before a Crucifix
Look down, O Lord, from Your sanctuary, from Your dwelling in heaven on high and behold this sacred Victim which our great High Priest, Your Holy Son our Lord Jesus Christ, offers up to You for the sins of His brethren and be appeased despite the multitude of our sins. Behold, the voice of the Blood of Jesus, our Brother, cries to You from the cross. Listen, O Lord. Be appeased, O Lord. Hearken and do not delay for Your own sake, O my God; for Your Name is invoked upon this city and upon Your people and deal with us according to Your mercy. Amen.
St Cajetan “Father of Providence” Pray for us!