Conrad was a member of one of the most noble families of Piacenza. He married while still very young. He was known to be a most pious and honest person.
One day while out with friends on a hunting expedition, he thought he saw some game in an area of brush. He ordered his attendants to set fire to the brush in order to scare the animals out of hiding. The dry brush quickly ignited and, because there was a prevailing wind, the fire started to spread. Soon the surrounding fields and forest were engulfed in the flames.
A man who happened to be in the area was thought to be the arsonist and was seized. He was imprisoned, tried and condemned to die. He was on his way to his execution when Conrad, full of remorse and guilt, halted the proceedings and made an open confession. To make restitution for the damages, Conrad had to sell all his belongings, reducing him to poverty. Conrad decided to retire to a hermitage, where he became a hermit of the Third Order of St. Francis. Conrad’s wife entered the Order of Poor Clares.
In later years, Conrad went to Rome and then to Sicily and lived there for 30 years leading a penitential life and working miracles. He died at Noto in Sicily on February 19, 1351.
Leo X allowed the town of Noto to celebrate a feast in honor of Conrad in the year 1515. Later, Urban VII extended this permission to the Order of St. Francis. Although Conrad bears the title of Saint, he has never been officially canonized. The Franciscans recognize his feast day on this day, February 19.
Heavenly Father, we pray that, like Conrad, we will always strive to do the right thing, even if it means suffering humiliation and the loss of all our possessions. Conrad suffered these things, but in dying to himself and living for You, he has gained the respect and veneration of many, and now has his eternal reward which far surpasses any earthly possession or honor. Thank you, Father, for Your love and mercy on us all. Amen.
Other Saints We Remember Today
St. Gabinus (296), Priest, Martyr, brother of Pope St. Caius, father of St. Susanna, ordained in old age
image: Giovanni Lanfranco, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons