[On 17th May] one of the saints celebrated by the Church is St Pascal Baylon [Paschal Baylon]. St Pascal was born in 1540 at the border of Castile and Aragon. As a youth he tended his family’s sheep on the mountain. He had to grow accustomed to the loneliness of a shepherd’s life and taught himself to read so that he could pray the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin, a popular prayer book at the time. St Pascal always tried to do the right thing, so whenever his sheep caused any damage to a neighbour’s property he would admit the damage and pay for it out of his meagre resources.
“I have never noticed the least fault in him”
At the age of twenty-one, St Pascal joined the reformed Franciscans of St Peter of Alcantara at Loreto. As a lay brother, St Pascal served for many years in the religious house as the doorkeeper and porter. He tried his best always to do this work with cheerfulness and saw it as his way of serving Jesus in the people who called at the door. Someone wrote that, ‘In no single case do I remember to have noted even the least fault in him, (Pascal), though I lived with him and travelled with him on long journeys.’
“Saint of the Blessed Sacrament”
St Pascal is often remembered as the ‘Saint of the Blessed Sacrament’. Typically, he spent many hours of the day as his work allowed praying and worshipping before the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel. St Pascal died in 1592 at the age of fifty-two and was canonised a Saint in 1890.
“It would be a lie”
There is a lovely story about St Pascal and how he never wanted to do the wrong thing. A group of women came to the door and asked that the superior come to speak with them. St Pascal went to his superior who told him to go back and tell the women that he was out of the house. ‘I can’t tell them that,’ St Pascal replied, ‘because it would be a lie.’ The superior insisted that he tell them that he was not at home. ‘Forgive me, but I refuse to lie to them,’ St Pascal said. He went back to the women and told them instead that the superior was at home, but that the superior wasn’t able to speak to them.”
– From: “Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris”, spring 2015