Part of the Field Guide to Flying Saints.

born: Alcantará 1499

died: Arenas oct 18, 1562

Franciscan reformer who was hailed as a restorer of the Franciscan Order and was known for his extreme mortifications.

From the age of 16 he slept less than 3 hours each night, and did not lie down but sat in a hard chair or sat with his head leaning against the wall. His cell was only 75cm long, he ate little, at first only once every three days, later only once a week. When he did eat he destroyed the taste with ashes or earth. For three years he never raised his eyes from the ground. He never ever looked at the ceiling and knew his fellow monks only by voice. He sometimes hit himself with a cane or scourge. And like St Philipus Neri sometimes the love of God manifested itself as a physical pain.

The flagellating tradition at certain times through the ages would really become a cult. People hitting themselves, starving themselves and doing all kinds of unpleasantness to themselves. There would be contests in starvation and pain between monks and schismatics, like athletes of the Lord. Monks would hang heavy objects from rings through their penises and nuns would eat garbage or human excrement or lick wounds of the ill and eat their clothes.

And there were even those that grazed like sheep. The golden age of grazers was the 6th century, when people ate grass all their lives at the coast of the Dead sea. It even became a known profession.

Wingspan: 1,70m

Weight (approx): 38kg

Range and distribution: Spain

Color: brown tunic

Special features: a scourge and a pigeon whispering in ear.


  • peter_of_alcantara.txt
  • Last modified: 2007-06-14 08:45
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