Patron of builders, St. Vincent Ferrer is renowned for building the Church through missionary efforts, prayer, and time spent preaching, teaching, advising, and taking confessions. Born on Jan. 23, 1350 at Valencia, Spain, he entered religious life as a member of the Dominican Order at age 17. He was the fourth child of William Ferrer who had been knighted for his valour in the conquest of Valencia and Constantia (Miguel) the daughter of another family that entered the nobility following the conquest of Valencia.
Beginning his education in the town of his birth, Vincent was said to be a brilliant student. A quote of his that reflects his fervour and dedication to studies and faithful living is “study followed prayer and prayer succeeded study.” He was ordained a priest by Cardinal Peter deLuna a longtime friend who later would be at the heart of the Western schism, as Pope Benedict XII.
Vincent lectured on philosophy and was re-assigned to Barcelona where he became well-known for leading religious scholastic efforts while earning a doctorate. Vincent however was far from a dry scholar. His fervour for the faith led him to great missionary work, preaching to to large crowds and performing many miracles. The most famous missionary of the early 1400s, he went on missions to every Spanish province also spreading the Word in England, Ireland, Scotland, Flanders, and Germany.
The Catholic Church may have been marked by schism during Vincent’s time, but he remained on honorable terms with each side. He died on April 5, 1419. He is depicted many times with a staff in his left hand and building in his right. His feast day on April 5.