Another married saint, born to a well-to-do family at Lodi, Italy, James Oldo knew how to have a good time in his youth. He was the life of the party. Self-indulgent and pleased with himself and quite self-satisfied, James sought out the company of others like himself, eventually marrying his wife, Catharine, who also liked to have a good time and enjoyed being popular. With their soon-to-be-born three children, all seemed well and the future seemed bright for the Oldos. But, God had other plans for James and Catharine, who might not have agreed with God’s intentions for them, had they known. Regardless of their would-be displeasure, God has a way of getting His way.
An outbreak of plague drove James, his wife and their three children out of their home and into the countryside. Despite those precautions, two of his daughters died from the plague. Faced with his own mortality, James began to reevaluate. Still, only slightly shaken from the death of his children, a traveling replica of the Holy Sepulchre came to town one day for veneration by the people. Thinking it a huge joke, James decided he would test to see who was taller, him or Christ.
James climbed into the shrine and lay in the mock tomb, attempting to mock it. We do not know exactly what happened next to James Oldo at that very moment, but we do know he had a profound instantaneous conversion experience, while laying where it was intended the Resurrected Body of the Lord was supposed to have lain, James emerged a changed man.
James decided he would become a secular Franciscan. His wife and his mother could not comprehend what had happened to their son and husband. They opposed this new direction and radical change in the life of James. That is, until James’ mother had a vision of being before the judgment seat of God. Both women became secular Franciscans along with their son and husband. They converted the Oldo mansion into a chapel and center for prayer. They spent the rest of their years working with the sick and the prisoners taken in the civil war that devastated Lodi.
James gave up his old lifestyle and did penance for his sins. His acts of penance became so severe that his bishop had to order him to eat at least three times a week. He cared for a sick priest, who taught him Latin. Upon the death of Catharine, James himself became a priest. James became an excellent preacher whose life and words moved many to enter the religious life. He displayed the gift of prophecy by predicting wars and the timing of his own death. James focused on caring for the sick and for prisoners of war. He died in 1404 after contracting a disease from one of his patients. When his body was moved seven years later, it was found to have suffered no corruption.
Summa Catechetica, "Neque enim quaero intelligere ut credam, sed credo ut intelligam." – St Anselm, "Let your religion be less of a theory, and more of a love affair." -G.K. Chesterton, "I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men and women who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, and who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it."- Bl John Henry Newman, Cong. Orat., "Encounter, not confrontation; attraction, not promotion; dialogue, not debate." -cf Pope Francis, “You will not see anyone who is really striving after his advancement who is not given to spiritual reading. And as to him who neglects it, the fact will soon be observed by his progress.” -St Athanasius, "To convert someone, go and take them by the hand and guide them." -St Thomas Aquinas, OP. 1 saint ruins ALL the cynicism in Hell & on Earth. “When we pray we talk to God; when we read God talks to us…All spiritual growth comes from reading and reflection.” -St Isidore of Seville, “Also in some meditations today I earnestly asked our Lord to watch over my compositions that they might do me no harm through the enmity or imprudence of any man or my own; that He would have them as His own and employ or not employ them as He should see fit. And this I believe is heard.” -GM Hopkins, SJ, "Only God knows the good that can come about by reading one good Catholic book." — St. John Bosco, "Why don't you try explaining it to them?" – cf St Peter Canisius, SJ, Doctor of the Church, Doctor of the Catechism, "Already I was coming to appreciate that often apologetics consists of offering theological eye glasses of varying prescriptions to an inquirer. Only one prescription will give him clear sight; all the others will give him at best indistinct sight. What you want him to see—some particular truth of the Faith—will remain fuzzy to him until you come across theological eye glasses that precisely compensate for his particular defect of vision." -Karl Keating, "The more perfectly we know God, the more perfectly we love Him." -St Thomas Aquinas, OP, ST, I-II,67,6 ad 3, “But always when I was without a book, my soul would at once become disturbed, and my thoughts wandered." —St. Teresa of Avila, "Let those who think I have said too little and those who think I have said too much, forgive me; and let those who think I have said just enough thank God with me." –St. Augustine, "Without good books and spiritual reading, it will be morally impossible to save our souls." —St. Alphonsus Liguori "Never read books you aren't sure about. . . even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?" -St. John Bosco " To teach in order to lead others to faith is the task of every preacher and of each believer." —St. Thomas Aquinas, OP