John Capistrano was born in 1386. His education was thorough. His talents and success were great. When he was 26, he was made governor of Perugia. Imprisoned after a battle against the Malatestas, he resolved to change his way of life completely. At the age of 30 he entered the Franciscan novitiate and was ordained a priest four years later.
John’s preaching attracted great throngs at a time of religious apathy and confusion. He and 12 Franciscan brethren were received in the countries of central Europe as angels of God. They were instrumental in reviving a dying faith and devotion.
When the Turks captured Constantinople in 1453, John was commissioned to preach a crusade for the defense of Europe. Worn out by his superhuman efforts, Capistrano was an easy prey to an infection after the battle. He died on October 23, 1456. John of Capistrano is patron saint of the Spanish mission outposts in California and Texas
Three words from a Brussels organization named after the saint characterized John’s life: “Initiative, Organization, Activity.” He was not one to sit around. His deep Christian optimism drove him to battle problems at all levels with the confidence engendered by a deep faith in Christ.