August 10 – His sister founded the Conceptionists

August 8, 2013

Blessed João Mendes de Silva

Blessed Amadeu da Silva, also called Amadeus of Portugal.

Blessed Amadeu da Silva, also called Amadeus of Portugal.

Better known as Amadeus of Portugal, O.F.M., (1420–1482), was a Portuguese nobleman who became first a monk, then left that life to become a friar of the Franciscan Order. Later he became a reformer of that Order, which led to his founding of a distinct branch of the Friars Minor that was named after him, later suppressed by the Pope in order to unite them into one great family of Friars Minor Observants (1568).

He was born João de Menezes da Silva in 1420 in Campo Maior, Portugal, the youngest of the eleven children of Rui Gomes da Silva, the first Magistrate of Campo Maior, on the border of Spain and Portugal, and of Isabel de Menezes, an illegitimate daughter of Dom Pedro de Menezes, 1st Count of Vila Real and 2nd Count of Viana do Alentejo, under whom Silva served in Ceuta. One of his sisters was Saint Beatrice of Silva, a noted Marian mystic and the foundress of the monastic Order of the Immaculate Conception.

His sister was Saint Beatrice of Silva, a noted Marian mystic and the foundress of the monastic Order of the Immaculate Conception.

His sister was Saint Beatrice of Silva, a noted Marian mystic and the foundress of the monastic Order of the Immaculate Conception.

He began his religious life in the Hieronnymite monastery of Notre-Dame de Guadalupe (Spain), where he spent about ten years. Desirous of joining the Franciscans, he went to Italy, where after some delay he was received into the order and, living in various convents, chiefly at Milan, attracted attention by his virtue and miracles.

Under the protection of the Archbishop of Milan, he established the convent of Notre-Dame de la Paix (1469) which became the centre of a Franciscan reform. The minister general of the order Francesco della Rovere, later pope under the name of Sixtus IV, extended his protection to him. Other foundations were made in Italy, among one at Rome.

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Supernatural favours obtained through his intercession aided in the spread of his cult, and the Bollandists testify to the authenticity of the title “Blessed” bestowed on him. He composed a yet published treatise entitled “De revelationibus et prophetiis”, two copies of which are mentioned by Nicholas Antonio. The work of another Amadeus, “Homilies on the Blessed Virgin”, has been erroneously attributed to him.

Notre-Dame de la Paix, Milan

Notre-Dame de la Paix, Milan

The convents he founded continued after his death to form a distinct branch of the Franciscans, the friars were called the Amadeans or Amadists, and they had twenty-eight houses in Italy, the chief one, Saint Peter de Montorio, in Rome. Innocent VIII gave them the convent of Saint Genesto near Cartagena in Spain (1493). The successors of Blessed João, Georges de Val-Camonique, Gilles de Montferrat, Jean Allemand, Bonaventura de Cremona, preserved his foundation in its original spirit until Saint Pius V suppressed it along with similar branches of the Franciscan Order uniting them into one great family of Friars Minor Observants (1568).

(Cfr: Catholic Encyclopedia, Acta SS., August. II, .562-606; ANTONIO, Bibliotheca vetus hispana, II, 217-18; WADDING, Annales Minorum, VI, VII, VIII; HELYOT, Histoire des ordres religieux, VII, 106-12.)

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