Seraphin of Montegranaro

Last updated
Seraphin of Montegranaro
O.F.M. Cap.
San Serafino de Montegranaro.jpg
DiedOctober 12, 1604
Ascoli Piceno
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified 18 July 1729 by Pope Benedict XIII
Canonized 16 July 1767 by Pope Clement XIII
Feast October 12
Attributes Franciscan habit

Seraphin of Montegranaro (Italian : Serafino da Montegranaro; 1540 – October 12, 1604), was an Italian Capuchin friar who is honored as a saint by the Catholic Church.



Born Felix (Felice) Rapagnano at Montegranaro, then in the March of Fermo, he was the second of four children of poor but pious parents, Gerolamo Rapagnano and Teodora Giovannuzzi. His father was a mason. Because of their poverty, the family depended on the productivity of all of its members. The eldest son, Silenzio, followed in his father's footsteps as a mason. The slighter and less manually adept Felix was hired out to a local farmer as a shepherd. Felix enjoyed shepherding since it afforded him time for prayer. Even at an early age, he had an inclination toward silence, seclusion, and prayer. When their father died, however, he was summoned home. His brother understood that Felix lacked the skills of a mason, but hoped to use him as an unskilled laborer. All attempts proved futile. Felix could not even learn how to slake lime. He did learn, however, to put up with the physical and emotional abuse heaped upon him by his irascible brother.

Felix kept in mind stories he had heard about the desert ascetics and of their fasting and penances, and dreamed of becoming like them. He confided in a friend, Luisa Vannucci from Loro Piceno, who encouraged him to enter religious life. She specifically mentioned the Capuchins because she was familiar with these friars and with their reputation for virtue. Immediately, he left for Tolentino and presented himself to the Capuchin minister provincial, expecting to be admitted that very day. But such was not the Capuchin custom. Instead, he was sent home, in all likelihood because of his age and fragile condition. In 1556, he repeated his request to the minister provincial, who this time accepted him and sent him to the novitiate of the province at Jesi.

After he completed a year of probation, Felix received the religious name of Seraphin (or in Italian, Serafino, meaning "seraph"). Upon entering into the Order, he remarked, "I have nothing, just a crucifix and a rosary, but with these I hope to benefit the friars and become a saint." Seraphin was distinguished from the first by his unaffected simplicity, mortification, and obedience as well as a great charity towards the poor. He had a special devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to the Blessed Virgin. He was assigned to serve variously as a porter or questor at various friaries throughout the March, but most of his religious life was spent at Ascoli Piceno.

Seraphin died at Ascoli Piceno in the early afternoon of October 12, 1604.

Miracles and reputation

Serpahin's physical appearance was described as that of a peasant: hair always rumpled, clumsy at manual tasks, and mainly illiterate. But his holiness was recognized by many. At times, he was discouraged by the ridicule of his Capuchin brothers. Seraphin would regain his composure and perspective through prayer. He explained, "When I entered religious life I was a poor, unskilled laborer, lacking both talent and potential. I remained as I was, and this caused so many humiliations and rebukes which the devil used as opportunities to tempt me to leave religious life and retreat to some desert, withdrawing into myself. I entrusted myself to the Lord, and one night I heard a voice coming from the tabernacle say, 'To serve God you must die to yourself and accept adversity, of whatever type.' So I accepted them and resolved to recite a rosary for anyone who caused me trouble. Then I heard the voice from the tabernacle say, 'Your prayers for those who mortify you are very pleasing to me. In exchange, I am ready to grant you many graces.'"

A Capuchin custom was to keep rooms near the porter's office available for the use of travelers and pilgrims. At whatever hour of the night, Seraphin would answer the door. Many recounted that, after the city gates had been closed for the night, they had sought refuge at the Capuchin friary, which were usually located outside the city walls, and that they had been welcomed warmly by Seraphin. He spent entire nights in church. Friars testified that, after everyone else had gone to bed, they would often hear him walking toward the church to spend the night in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. There he was heard praying, "Peace, Lord, I ask peace for so-and-so." Seraphin once confided that the reason he spent so much of the night in church was because, in his room, he was greatly tempted against chastity, even in his old age.

Recollections sustain that Seraphin was endowed with the gift of reading the secrets of hearts, and with that of miracles and prophecy. Although unlettered, Seraphin's advice was sought by secular and ecclesiastical dignitaries. His reputation reached as far as the Dukes of Bavaria and Parma, the Peopli nobles of Bologna, and Cardinal Ottavio Bandini. The bishop of Ascoli, the eminent theologian Cardinal Girolamo Bernerio, also sought out his advice.

Seraphin was austere in his person. Only once in his life did he accept a new religious habit, and then, only out of obedience. For forty continuous years, he ate only soup or salad. In keeping with the spirituality prevalent at the time, Seraphin had a personal devotion of serving as many Masses as possible. To avoid having people kiss his hand or tunic to show their respect, Seraphin would carry a crucifix with him, offering it for them to kiss instead.

However, Seraphin also possessed a great sense of humor. Once, a woman asked him if she would give birth to a boy or a girl. He attempted to avoid answering. But the woman insisted, saying, "How shall I know what name to choose?" Chuckling, Seraphin responded, "As far as that goes, choose Ursula and Companions," indicating that throughout her life the woman would give birth to a succession of girls.


Even before Seraphin's burial in 1604, his first biographer put pen to paper. He was canonized by Pope Clement XIII on July 16, 1767. Pope Clement canonized Seraphin, together with John Cantius, Joseph Calasanz, Joseph of Cupertino, Jerome Emiliani and Jane Frances de Chantal. In the papal bull of canonization, the illiterate and physically clumsy Capuchin was acclaimed as a person who "knew how to read and understand the great book of life which is our Savior, Jesus Christ. For that reason, he deserves to be listed among Christ's principal disciples."

Serafin's feast day is celebrated on October 12. His tomb is in the Capuchin friary at Ascoli Piceno. A church at San Lorenzo Nuovo is dedicated to him.[ citation needed ]

Related Research Articles

Order of Friars Minor Capuchin Religious order of Franciscan friars

The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin is a religious order of Franciscan friars within the Catholic Church, one of two "First Orders" that sprang from the Franciscan Friars Minor Observant, the other being the Conventuals. The Capuchins arose in 1525 with the purpose of returning to a stricter observance of the rule established by Francis of Assisi in 1209.

Minims (religious order) Roman Catholic religious order

The Minims are members of a Roman Catholic religious order of friars founded by Saint Francis of Paola in fifteenth-century Italy. The Order soon spread to France, Germany and Spain, and continues to exist today.

Fidelis of Sigmaringen

Fidelis of Sigmaringen, O.F.M. Cap. was a Capuchin friar who was involved in the catholic Counter-Reformation, and was martyred by his opponents at Seewis im Prättigau, now part of Switzerland. Fidelis was canonized in 1746.

Felix of Cantalice Capuchin friar and Roman Catholic saint

Felix of Cantalice, O.F.M. Cap. was an Italian Capuchin friar of the 16th century. Canonized by Pope Clement XI in 1712, he was the first Capuchin friar to be named a saint.

Peter of Alcántara Christian saint

Peter of Alcántara was a Spanish Franciscan friar who was canonized in 1669.

Frei Galvão Christian saint

Anthony of St. Ann Galvão, O.F.M., commonly known in Brazil as Frei (Friar) Galvão, was a Brazilian friar of the Franciscan Order. One of the best-known religious figures in colonial Brazil, renowned for his healing powers, Galvão was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on May 11, 2007, becoming the first Brazilian-born saint. He was the second Brazilian to be proclaimed a saint by the Catholic Church, after Austro-Hungarian-born Pauline of the Agonizing Heart of Jesus' was canonized in 2002.

Franciscan Friars of the Renewal

The Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal is a Catholic clerical religious congregation of Pontifical Right for men founded in 1987. It follows the Capuchin Franciscan tradition. Its members add the nominal letters C.F.R. after their names to indicate membership in the community.

Solanus Casey American Capuchin friar and priest

Solanus Casey, born Bernard Francis Casey, was a priest of the Catholic Church in the United States and was a professed member of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. He was known during his lifetime as a wonderworker, for his great faith and his abilities as a spiritual counselor, but especially for his great attention to the sick, for whom he celebrated special Masses. The friar was much sought-after and came to be revered in Detroit, where he resided. He was also a noted lover of the violin, a trait he shared with his eponym, Saint Francis Solanus.

Leopold Mandić 19th and 20th-century Catholic priest and saint

Leopold Mandić, O.F.M. Cap., was a Croatian Capuchin friar and Catholic priest, who suffered from disabilities that would plague his speech and stature. He developed tremendous spiritual strength in spite of his disabilities and became extremely popular in his ministry as a confessor, often spending 12–15 hours in the confessional.

Bernard of Corleone

Bernardo da Corleone, born Filippo Latini, was a Roman Catholic professed religious from the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin.

Conrad of Parzham German Franciscan lay brother

Conrad of Parzham, O.F.M. Cap., was a German Franciscan lay brother. He served for over 40 years in the post of porter of the Capuchin friary in Altötting, through which work he gained a widespread reputation for his wisdom and holiness. He has been declared a saint by the Catholic Church.

Felix of Nicosia

Felix of Nicosia was a Capuchin friar, and is honored as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church.

Francis Fasani Christian saint

Francis Anthony Fasani, O.F.M. Conv. was an Italian friar of the Order of Conventual Friars Minor who has been declared a saint by the Catholic Church.

Benedict Groeschel

Benedict Joseph Groeschel, C.F.R. was an American Franciscan friar, Catholic priest, retreat master, author, psychologist, activist, and television host. He hosted the television talk program Sunday Night Prime broadcast on the Eternal Word Television Network, as well as several serial religious specials.

Jeremiah of Wallachia O.F.M. Cap., was a Romanian-born Capuchin lay brother who spent his entire adult life serving as an infirmarian of the Order in Italy. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 30 October 1983, the first of his nation to be so honored. Born Ion Costist or Ioan (John) Costişte, he emigrated to Naples during his adolescence. Also known as Geremia from Wallachia, he became noted for his careful attention to the merciful works and to the care of the poor. His vision of the Blessed Mother resulted in one of the best known images created of him.

Francesco Maria da Camporosso

Francesco Maria da Camporosso - born Giovanni Croese - was an Italian Roman Catholic professed religious from the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. Croese became a beggar in Genoa where he sought alms from people and was at first heckled and assaulted before his reputation for personal holiness spread which prompted people to come and see him.

Leopold of Alpandeire Spanish Roman Catholic friar

Blessed Leopold of Alpandeire - born Francisco Tomás de San Juan Bautista Márquez y Sánchez - was a Spanish Roman Catholic professed religious of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. His life is not distinguished for spectacular works but rather for the humble and simple life in which he led his life as well as for his kindness - in particular towards the most deprived persons. He spent most of his life in Granada where its people still remember and celebrate him as a model example of Christian life and virtue.

Augusto Mussini Italian painter (1870–1918)

Augusto Mussini was an Italian painter and friar.

Sant’Antonio da Padova is a Roman Catholic church located in the town of Loro Piceno, province of Macerata, in the region of Marche, Italy. It is currently located in the town's cemetery, and it was declared unsafe after an earthquake in 1997.

San Serafino is a Roman Catholic church in Montegranaro, province of Fermo, in the region of Marche, Italy.


    Wikisource-logo.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "St. Seraphin of Montegranaro". Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.