This saint’s name was Mark Rey. He was born in Germany in 1578. Mark went to the famous University of Freigburg to become a lawyer. Even as a student, he likes to visit the sick and the poor. He spent time praying daily. His brother chose to be a Capuchin Franciscan priest. Mark, instead, finished his studies and became a famous lawyer.
Mark often took on the cases of poor people who had no money to pay. This won him the nickname, “The Poor Man’s Lawyer.” Because he was very honest, Mark became disgusted with the dishonesty of the law courts. He decided top follow his brother and become a priest. He received his religious habit and took the name Fidelis, which means “faithful.”
Father Fidelis was filled with joy when he was assigned to Switzerland there were many enemies of the Catholic faith. Father Fidelis wanted to win these people back to the Church. His preaching brought wonderful results. Many people were converted. Enemies of the Church grew angry at his success.
St. Fidelis admitted that his life was in danger, yet he went right on preaching. In the middle of a sermon one day, a shot was fired, but the bullet missed. Father Fidelis knew he had to leave the town at once. He did, but as he was walking down the road to the next town, a mob of angry men stopped him. They ordered the priest to give up the Catholic religion. St. Fidelis said firmly, “I will not give up the Catholic faith.” The men pounced on him with their clubs and crude tools.
The wounded priest pulled himself up to a kneeling position. He prayed: “Lord, forgive my enemies. They do not know what they are doing. Lord Jesus, have mercy on me! Holy Mary, my Mother, help me!” The men attacked him again until they were certain he was dead.
St. Fidelis died a martyr in 1622 at the age of forty-four. Pope Benedict XIV proclaimed him a saint in 1746.
“Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me!” the Savior said. Everyday our Blessed Lord calls us in denying ourselves in order for us to die to oneself. If we die to ourselves daily, then, we are not afraid of losing our life much more for God’s greater glory. Our lives must be a witnessing for Christ and for Him alone.
All-powerful, ever-living God,
turn our weakness into strength.
As you gave your martyr St. Fidelis
the courage to suffer death for Christ,
give us the courage to live in faithful witness to you.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.