The Life Story of San Pascual Baylon

He was born at Torre Hermosa in the kingdom of Aragon, Spain, on 24th  May, 1540, Pentecost Sunday.  His parents, Martin Baylon and Isabella Jebera were virtuous peasants.  According to local custom, they named him after the feast day during which he was born, so he was named “Pascual” (Paschal) in honor of “Pascual de Pentecosta” (the Easter Pentecost).  Since he was seven years old, and until he was twenty-four, he led the life of a  shepherd and, during that period, he found himself among people with uncouth ways, but exercised a salutary influence upon his companions, standing up in defense of what was decent and just.  Later, these same people testified to Pascual’s great holiness of life, and to the moral courage in his youth.

He began very early to show the piety of his soul with an intense love for prayer and a particular devotion towards the Mass and the Holy Eucharist, which later characterized the whole of his religious life. Pascual loved the spirit of poverty which St. Francis tried to instill into his followers and, in 1564 he joined the Reformed Friars Minor of Spain, usually called the Alcatarine Franciscans, founded by St. Peter of Alcantara, and received the religious habit during the same year. His ardent love for Jesus Christ in the Eucharistic mystery was expressed by frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament in all the churches he could reach on foot.

San Pascual Baylon by Busto

While his religious duties took him away from prayer many times a day, Pascual would come back to the altar, remaining in adoration as long as possible.  He led a life of mortifications and penances, and he had compassion for those who were in need.  Pascual tried to help them as best he could, saying: “I give the alms for the love of God, and who knows whether Christ Himself might not be  found among these needy brethren?.”  It was a life filled with stories of people being healed through his prayers, a life characterized by the gifts of wisdom, prophecy and miracles.  Although poorly educated, (he taught himself how to read and write), his counsel was sought also by people of high social standing.  During a mission to France, he triumphantly defeated the blasphemies of a Calvinist preacher, and in consequence, narrowly escaped death at the hands of a Huguenot mob.

Pascual’s death and his incorrupt body

He died on Pentecost Sunday, 17th May, 1592, in Villareal, Valencia, Spain, and his death was marked by an unusual occurrence: It happened during the Mass, at the precise moment when the Sacred Host was being elevated.  Innumerable miracles occurred during his life and after his death, so his tomb became the object of continuous pilgrimages, even by the King and the Nobles of Spain.  His cult spread rapidly throughout Spain, Australia and the Kingdom of Naples, and finally throughout the whole of Europe and America.

Anecdotes about San Pascual Baylon

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