Saint Nicolas de Tolentino
La mère de ce Saint dût sa naissance à un pèlerinage qu'elle fit à Saint-Nicolas-de-Myre. L'enfant reçut au baptême, en reconnaissance, le nom de Nicolas. Son patron continua de le protéger, et bientôt le petit Nicolas devint son émule dans la sainteté, jeûnant, dès l'âge de sept ans, trois fois la semaine, et aimant les pauvres d'une affection incroyable.
A onze ans, il fut reçu dans l'Ordre des Ermites de Saint-Augustin, où il se fit admirer de tous par la modestie de son maintien, sa parfaite obéissance, son humeur douce et toujours égale, surtout sa chasteté, gardée par d'effrayantes mortifications. On eût dit qu'il avait un corps de bronze. A quinze ans, il usait des chaînes, des ceintures de fer et des cilices; il jeûnait quatre fois la semaine, mangeait peu et des mets les plus grossiers, ne couchait que par terre ou sur une paillasse.
On raconte plusieurs visions d'âmes du Purgatoire qui lui devaient leur délivrance. Après avoir édifié successivement plusieurs couvents, le fervent religieux est envoyé à Tolentino, où il passe les trente dernières années de sa vie. Là il s'occupe à catéchiser les ignorants, à prêcher la parole de Dieu, à confesser les pécheurs; les coeurs les plus rebelles se rendent à ses exhortations, il embrase les plus indifférents du feu de l'amour divin, il ébranle les plus obstinés, sa douceur ramène les plus désespérés dans la voie du salut. Le salut des autres ne lui fait pas négliger le sien. On ne saurait dire quand il terminait son oraison; on le trouvait toujours absorbé en Dieu; il aimait surtout à méditer les souffrances de Jésus-Christ.
Nicolas était la terreur du démon, qui venait souvent troubler son oraison en imitant devant lui le cri de tous les animaux, en ébranlant la charpente de la maison, et faisant trembler sa cellule. Un jour l'esprit de ténèbres entra près de lui sous la forme d'un oiseau énorme, qui éteignit, renversa et brisa la lampe par un mouvement de ses ailes; Nicolas ramassa les morceaux et les rejoignit si merveilleusement, qu'il ne parut pas trace de l'accident. Le démon alla jusqu'à le frapper et à le laisser pour mort; le Saint demeura boiteux toute sa vie des coups qu'il avait reçus. Il partageait avec les pauvres le pain qu'on lui donnait à ses repas, et, un jour, son supérieur lui demandant ce qu'il portait: "Ce sont des fleurs," dit-il, et il montra le pain changé en roses. Pendant les six derniers mois de sa vie, les anges descendaient toutes les nuits dans sa chambre et le réjouissaient de leurs chants.
Abbé L. Jaud, Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l'année, Tours, Mame, 1950
SOURCE : http://magnificat.ca/cal/fr/saints/saint_nicolas_de_tolentino.html
Le Pérugin. Saint Nicolas de Tolentino, 1507, 79 X 62,
SAINT NICOLAS DE TOLENTINO, CONFESSEUR.
Marie enfant sourit au lis dont fait hommage à son berceau le représentant d'un grand Ordre. Admis dans la famille religieuse des Ermites de Saint-Augustin au moment où elle se groupait et se constituait sous la direction du Vicaire du Christ, Nicolas mérita d'en être le thaumaturge. Quand il mourut, en 1305, l'exil d'Avignon commençait pour les Pontifes romains; sa canonisation, retardée près d'un siècle et demi par les troubles de ces temps, marqua la fin des lamentables dissensions qui suivirent l'exil.
La paix perdue depuis tant d'années, la paix dont désespéraient les plus sages: c'était l'ardente prière, la solennelle adjuration d'Eugène IV, lorsque, au soir d'un laborieux pontificat, il confiait la cause de l'Eglise à l'humble serviteur de Dieu placé par lui sur les autels. Ce fut, au témoignage de Sixte Quint (1 Sixti V, Const. Sancta Romana umversalis Ecclesia.), le plus grand des miracles de saint Nicolas; miracle qui porta ce dernier Pontife à ordonner la célébration de sa fête sous le rit double, en un temps où pareil honneur était plus rare qu'aujourd'hui sur le Cycle.
Lisons le récit, simple comme sa vie, consacré à la mémoire du bienheureux.
Nicolas de Tolentino, ainsi appelé du nom de la ville où il demeura davantage, était né de parents pieux au bourg de Saint-Ange dans la Marche d'Ancône Le désir d'avoir des enfants ayant conduit par suite d'un vœu à Bari son père et sa mère, ils y reçurent de saint Nicolas l'assurance qu'ils étaient exaucés: d'où le nom qu'ils donnèrent ensuite à leur fils. Parmi les nombreuses vertus dont dès l'enfance il fut le modèle, brilla surtout l'abstinence ; âgé de sept ans à peine, à l'exemple de son bienheureux patron, il commença de jeûner plusieurs jours de la semaine, coutume qu'il garda depuis, se contentant de pain et d'eau.
Déjà inscrit dans la milice cléricale et chanoine, il était jeune encore, lorsque entendant un prédicateur de l'Ordre des Ermites de Saint-Augustin parler sur le mépris du monde, il fut tellement embrasé de son discours qu'il entra aussitôt dans cet Ordre. On l'y vit observer une forme si parfaite de vie religieuse, qu'il était la lumière de tous en charité, humilité, patience et toutes vertus, ne portant qu'un habit grossier, matant son corps par les disciplines et les chaînes de fer, s'abstenant de chair et de presque tous mets.
Malgré les embûches de Satan qui cherchait à le troubler en diverses manières et parfois l'accablait de coups, il ne relâchait rien de son zèle pour l'oraison. Enfin, durant les six mois qui précédèrent sa mort, il entendit chaque nuit les concerts des Anges ; c'était l'avant-goût des joies du paradis, et pénétré de leur douceur, il redisait souvent le mot de l'Apôtre : Je désire de mourir et d'être avec le Christ. Son désir s'accomplit le quatre des ides de septembre, ainsi qu'il l'avait annoncé aux frères. Il fut, après comme avant son trépas, illustré beaucoup de miracles : quels ayant été reconnus canoniquement, le Pape Eugène IV le mit au nombre des Saints.
Serviteur bon et fidèle, vous êtes entré dans la joie de votre Seigneur. Il a brisé vos liens ; et du ciel où vous régnez maintenant, vous nous répétez la parole qui fixa la sainteté de votre vie mortelle: N'aimez pas le monde, ni ce qui est dans le monde; car le monde passe, et sa concupiscence avec lui (11 JOHAN. II, 15, 17.). Combien est puissant pour autrui l'homme qui semble ainsi oublier la terre, c'est ce que fait assez voir le don qui vous fut départi de soulager toute misère autour de vous, comme au séjour des âmes souffrantes ; et le successeur de Pierre ne se trompait pas lorsque, vous décernant les honneurs des Saints, il comptait sur votre crédit au ciel pour ramener dans les voies de la paix la société longtemps troublée. Puisse donc la parole du disciple bien-aimé que vous venez de nous redire, vraie semence de salut, pénétrer dans nos âmes et y produire les fruits qu'elle produisit dans la vôtre : le détachement de ce qui ne doit pas durer toujours, l'aspiration vers les réalités éternelles, cette humble simplicité du regard de l'âme qui pacifie l'existence et conduit à Dieu, cette pureté qui fit de vous l'ami des Anges et le privilégié de Marie.
Né vers 1245, mort en 1310, canonisé en 1446, fête au calendrier universel en 1585.
Leçons des Matines (avant 1960)
Quatrième leçon. Nicolas, dit de Tolentino, à cause de son long séjour dans cette localité, naquit à Saint-Ange, ville de la Marche d’Ancône, de parents recommandables par leur piété. Ceux-ci, dans un voyage qu’ils avaient fait à Bari, pour accomplir un vœu en vue d’obtenir des enfants, avaient reçu de saint Nicolas l’assurance qu’il leur naîtrait un fils ; et ce fils leur ayant été accordé, ils lui imposèrent le nom du Saint. Dès l’âge le plus tendre, l’enfant donna l’exemple de vertus nombreuses, et surtout d’abstinence, car à peine âgé de sept ans, à l’imitation du bienheureux Nicolas lui-même, il commença à jeûner plusieurs fois la semaine, coutume qu’il conserva dans la suite, en se contentant de pain et d’eau.
Cinquième leçon. N’étant encore qu’adolescent, il s’enrôla dans la milice ecclésiastique et fut pourvu d’un canonicat. Un jour qu’il assistait au sermon qu’un prédicateur de l’Ordre des Ermites de saint Augustin faisait sur le mépris du monde, il en fut touché, et sur-le-champ il entra dans cet Ordre. Il y observa les préceptes de la vie religieuse dans leur plus rigoureuse exactitude, portant des habits grossiers, domptant son corps par des disciplines et des chaînes de fer, s’abstenant de viande et presque de toute nourriture, pratiquant dans un degré éminent la charité, l’humilité, la pénitence et toutes les vertus.
Sixième leçon. Bien que Satan le fatiguât de ses ruses jusqu’à le frapper, l’assiduité de son application à la prière ne connut pas de défaillance. Toutes les nuits, durant les six derniers mois de son existence, il entendit des concerts angéliques dont la suavité lui faisait pressentir les joies du paradis et l’amenait à répéter fréquemment ces paroles de l’Apôtre : « Il me tarde de mourir pour être réuni au Christ. » Il prédit à ses frères le jour de sa mort, qui fut le quatre des ides de septembre. Des miracles nombreux, même après sa mort, rendirent son nom illustre. Ces miracles ayant été judiciairement et régulièrement constatés, le Pape Eugène IV le plaça au nombre des Saints.
SOURCE : http://www.introibo.fr/10-09-St-Nicolas-de-Tolentino
St. Nicholas of Tolentino
Born at Sant' Angelo, near Fermo, in the March of Ancona, about 1246; d. 10 September, 1306. He is depicted in the black habit of the Hermits of St. Augustine — a star above him or on his breast, a lily, or a crucifix garlanded with lilies, in his hand. Sometimes, instead of the lily, he holds a vial filled with money or bread. His parents, said to have been called Compagnonus de Guarutti and Amata de Guidiani (these surnames may merely indicate their birth-places), were pious folk, perhaps gentle born, living content with a small substance. Nicholas was born in response to prayers, his mother a model of holiness. He excelled so much in his studies that even before they were over he was made a canon of St. Saviour's church; but hearing a sermon by a hermit of St. Augustine upon the text: "Nolite diligere mundum, nec ea quae sunt in mundo, quia mundus transit et concupiscentia ejus", he felt a call to embrace the religious life. He besought the hermit for admittance into his order. His parents gave a joyful consent. Even before his ordination he was sent to different monasteries of his order, at Recanati, Macerata etc., as a model of generous striving after perfection. He made his profession before he was nineteen. After his ordination he preached with wonderful success, notably at Tolentino, where he spent his last thirty years and gave a discourse nearly every day. Towards the end diseases tried his patience, but he kept up his mortifications almost to the hour of death. He possessed an angelic meekness, a guileless simplicity, and a tender love of virginity, which he never stained, guarding it by prayer and extraordinary mortifications. He was canonized by Eugene IV in 1446; his feast is celebrated on 10 September. His tomb, at Tolentino, is held in veneration by the faithful.
Acta SS., Sept. III, 636; BUTLER, Lives of the Saints, III (Baltimore), 440; HAGELE in Kirchenlex., s.v.
Garesché, Edward. "St. Nicholas of Tolentino." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 10 Sept. 2016 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11065a.htm>.
Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Thomas M. Barrett. Dedicated to St. Nicholas.
Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.
St. Nicholas of Tolentino, Confessor
His life was written by several hands, principally by three pious and learned men of his Order, very soon after his death; viz. Peter de Monte Rubiano in the Marca of Ancona; 2ndly, by Henry of Urimaria; 3rdly, by Jordan de Saxonia. See also Nævius, in his Eremus Augustiniana, p. 166; Brulius Historiæ Peruanæ ordinis Eremitarum St. Augustini, l. 15; and Suysken, Act. SS. t. 3, Sept. p. 636
THIS saint received his surname from the town which was his fixed residence for the most considerable part of his life, and in which he died. He was a native of St. Angelo, a town near Fermo, in the Marca of Ancona, and was born about the year 1245. His parents were of mean condition in the world, but rich in virtue, and he was reputed the fruit of their prayers, and a devout pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Nicholas of Bari, in which his mother especially, who was then stricken in years, had earnestly begged of God a son who should faithfully serve him. At his baptism he received the name of his patron, and appeared by his towardly dispositions from his infancy to be prevented by an extraordinary share of divine grace. In his childhood he spent whole hours together at his prayers with wonderful application of his mind to God, and he heard the divine word with the utmost eagerness, and with a modesty which charmed all who saw him. He had a tender love for the poor, and used to conduct home those that he met, in order to divide with them whatever he had for his own subsistence. From his infancy he made it a cardinal maxim to renounce all superfluities, practised great mortifications, and from his tender age contracted a habit of fasting three days a week, namely, on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays; to which, when he was grown up, he added Mondays, allowing himself on these days only one refection, and that of bread and water. From his very infancy he seemed exempt from the weaknesses and passions to which children are generally liable, his greatest pleasure was in reading good books, in his devotions, and in pious conversation, and his heart was always in the church. His parents neglected nothing that was in their power to improve his genius and happy dispositions. In his studies, as his parts were quick, apprehensions lively, and his memory and judgment strong, so his progress was rapid.
He was yet a young student when, for his extraordinary merit, he was preferred to a canonry in our Saviour’s church. This situation was extremely agreeable to his inclination, as by it he was always employed in the divine service. But he aspired to a state which would allow him to consecrate his whole time and thoughts directly to God, without interruptions or avocations. Whilst he was in this disposition, a sermon preached by an Austin friar or hermit, on the vanity of the world, determined him to take a resolution absolutely to quit the world, and to embrace the Order of that holy preacher. This he executed without loss of time, entering himself a religious man in the convent of that Order of Tolentino, a small town in the ecclesiastical state. He went through his novitiate under the direction of the preacher himself, and made his profession before he had completed the eighteenth year of his age. His humility made him look on all his brethren as so many superiors, and he studied in all things as much as possible to do the will of every one, that he might the more perfectly learn to deny his own, and the love of humiliations gave him particular affection for the meanest and most mortifying employments in the house, and he embraced whatever was most painful and abject with the greatest pleasure. Such was the unalterable sweetness of his temper, and the equality of his mind, that he never betrayed the least impatience or irregularity of humour: a mark of the constant tranquillity of his soul, and the perfect victory which he had gained over himself. His extraordinary fasts and austerities showed that he looked on his body as a constant enemy to his soul. The disciplines and iron girdles with which he afflicted it, are shown to this day in his convent. His ordinary food was only coarse bread with pulse or herbs; his bed was the bare floor, with a stone for his pillow. In obedience to his general, he once in time of sickness took a mouthful of flesh-meat; but immediately begged with tears, that since he had satisfied his precept, he might be allowed not to eat any more; to which the general assented.
He was sent successively to several convents of his Order at Recanati, Macerata, and others; in that of Cingole he was ordained priest by the bishop of Osimo. From which time, if he seemed an angel in his other actions, he appeared like a seraph at the altar; so wonderfully did the divine fire which burned in his breast manifest itself in his countenance, and sweet tears flowed in streams from his eyes. Devout persons strove every day to assist at his mass as at a sacrifice offered by the hands of a saint. In the secret communications which passed between his pure soul and God in contemplation, especially after he had been employed at the altar or in the confessional, he seemed already to enjoy a kind of anticipation of the delights of heaven. The last thirty years of his life he resided at Tolentino, and his zeal for the salvation of souls, produced there wonderful fruit. He preached almost every day, and his sermons were always signalized by remarkable conversions. His exhortations, whether in the confessional or in giving catechism, were always such as reached to the heart, and left lasting salutary impressions on those who heard him. What time could be spared from those charitable functions, he spent in prayer and contemplation. He was favoured with visions, and wrought several miraculous cures. For the exercise of his virtue he was long afflicted with divers painful distempers. His holy death happened on September the 10th, in 1306, and he was canonized by Eugenius IV. in 1446. His body was buried in the church of his convent at Tolentino, in a chapel in which he used to say mass, and his tomb there is held in veneration.
The saints, how much soever they had subdued their passions, and strengthened themselves in habits of all virtues, always watched with extraordinary vigilance over all their words and actions, and every motion of their hearts, knowing this life to be a state of perpetual warfare and danger. To prevent all attacks from the enemy, it is the duty of a Christian to be always provided, and in time of peace to expect his return: this disposition will contribute to keep him at a distance; and a neglect of it will certainly invite him to take advantage of our supine sloth, and, by subtle stratagems, or by open force, easily to overthrow us at unawares. By frequent self-examination, the practice of self-denial, the dispositions of humble fear and compunction, and by watchfulness against all occasions of danger, we must continually be armed, and ready to repulse him: if we leave the avenues of our soul open or unguarded, and trust him within our gates, he enters smoothly, but, like a cancer, brings death.
Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume IX: September. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.
SOURCE : http://www.bartleby.com/210/9/101.html
Nicholas was born to poor parents who lived not far from Tolentine and who, until his birth, had been childless. They went as pilgrims to Bari, in southern Italy, to pray at the shrine of St Nicholas to be blessed with a child. Shortly after their return home, to their great joy, a son was born to whom they gave the name Nicholas.
Autore: Mario Benatti
St Nicholas of Tolentino (1245-1305)
It seems that Nicholas felt called to the religious life from his earliest years. Having met the Prior of the Augustinian community in Tolentine, he applied to be accepted in the local monastery as a novice. He passed through the years of formation and study and in the year 1270 he was ordained a priest.
Shortly after his ordination, he had a vivid dream in which a deceased fellow Augustinian appeared to him and begged his help: “I am suffering in these flames, by which the good God, accepting my repentance, is mercifully purifying me. I beg you to celebrate a Mass of the Dead for me, so that I may be freed from my torments”.
Fr. Nicholas spent the night in prayer and next day he asked the Prior for permission to offer his Mass for a week on behalf of the suffering souls in Purgatory. He did so and soon afterwards the same priest appeared to him again and assured him that he and many other souls had been freed from Purgatory.
This incident convinced Nicholas of the need to pray incessantly for the souls in Purgatory, and to offer the sacrifice of the Mass for this purpose. It remained the outstanding characteristic of his spirituality. In 1275 he was appointed to the community in Tolentine and he remained there until his death on Sept. 10th 1305.
He was much sought after as a confessor and spiritual director but it was as an advocate for the souls in Purgatory that he is now remembered, and is invoked as their patron. He was the first Augustinian to be canonised as a saint , in 1446, and 700 years after his death his remains are still venerated in the basilica dedicated in his honour in Tolentine. To very many he is revered as the Patron of the Holy Souls.
Devotion to St. Nicholas of Tolentine.
He is invoked mainly as an advocate for the souls in Purgatory, especially during Lent and during the month of November. In many Augustinian churches, there are weekly devotions to St Nicholas on behalf of the suffering souls. The whole church dedicates itself to prayer on their behalf on 2nd November each year, the Commemoration of all the faithful departed, and that day has special significance for the devotees of St Nicholas of Tolentine.
Blessing of the Bread of St. Nicholas of Tolentine
When St Nicholas was very ill, it is related in the account of his life that the Blessed Virgin appeared to him in a vision and told him to procure a little bread and eat it moistened with water, and he would be cured. The saint did so and he was instantly restored to health. From this story the blessed bread of St Nicholas had its origin.
During the life of St Nicholas he too dipped bread in water to cure the sick of various illnesses. In faith we ask for Nicholas’ intercession for our illnesses and those of our loved ones.
Blessing the Bread of St. Nicholas
Lord Jesus Christ, you multiplied the loaves to feed a hungry throng. We ask you to bless + this bread. May it become spiritual nourishment for those who eat it, in honour of St Nicholas of Tolentine, and be beneficial to the health of all who place their trust in you, who live and reign for ever and ever. Amen
Aided by the Prayers of St Nicholas, let us pray to Christ who gives us the hope that our mortal bodies will become like his in glory.
1.Christ, Son of the living God, you raised your friend Lazarus from the dead: grant life and glory to the faithful departed, redeemed by your precious blood.
2.Compassionate Saviour, you wiped away all tears when you gave back to the widow of Naim her only son: comfort those who mourn because the one they love has died.
3. Lord our God, in St Nicholas you have given us an example of faith, hope and love: send into our hearts your Holy Spirit with his many gifts.
4.Father of holiness, you have given us this new day, on which we celebrate the memory of St Nicholas: may we use it in contemplating his goodness, and in working like him to do your will, in the circumstances of our daily lives.
5. Father, your Son has promised a hundredfold and eternal life to those who leave all things and follow him: may we always be true to our baptism (and our religious vows), and show forth the living power of the Gospel.
6. Lord, you worked miracles of healing and comfort at the hands of St Nicholas: hear all who cry to you in distress, in sickness and in every danger of soul and body, and save them in your mercy.
Almighty God, your glory shone upon the Church through the holiness and miracles of St Nicholas of Tolentine. In answer to his prayers keep your holy people in peace and unity. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen
San Nicola da Tolentino Sacerdote
Castel Sant’Angelo (ora Sant’Angelo in Pontano, Macerata), 1245 - Tolentino (Macerata), 10 settembre 1305
Nacque nel 1245 a Castel Sant'Angelo in Pontano nella diocesi di Fermo. A 14 anni entrò fra gli eremitani di sant'Agostino di Castel Sant'Angelo come oblato, cioè ancora senza obblighi e voti. Più tardi entrò nell'ordine e nel 1274 venne ordinato sacerdote a Cingoli. La comunità agostiniana di Tolentino diventò la sua «casa madre» e suo campo di lavoro il territorio marchigiano con i vari conventi dell'Ordine, che lo accoglievano nell'itinerario di predicatore. Dedicava buona parte della sua giornata a lunghe preghiere e digiuni. Un asceta che diffondeva sorriso, un penitente che metteva allegria. Lo sentivano predicare, lo ascoltavano in confessione o negli incontri occasionali, ed era sempre così: veniva da otto-dieci ore di preghiera, dal digiuno a pane e acqua, ma aveva parole che spargevano sorriso. Molti venivano da lontano a confessargli ogni sorta di misfatti, e andavano via arricchiti dalla sua fiducia gioiosa. Sempre accompagnato da voci di miracoli, nel 1275 si stabilì a Tolentino dove resterà fino alla morte il 10 settembre 1305. (Avvenire)
Etimologia: Nicola = vincidore del popolo, dal greco
Emblema: Cesto di pane, Pane, Stella
Martirologio Romano: A Tolentino nelle Marche, san Nicola, sacerdote dell’Ordine degli Eremiti di Sant’Agostino, che, dedito a una severa astinenza e assiduo nella preghiera, fu severo con se stesso, ma clemente con gli altri, e spesso imponeva a sé le penitenze altrui.
Per il patronato della maternità, accanto alla Madre della Madonna, può ben figurare quel benevolo intercessore che è San Nicola da Tolentino.
È pur vero che il ventaglio di ausilio miracoloso attribuito a San Nicola dalla vastissima ancor oggi devozione popolare è molto ampio: dalle malattie alle ingiustizie, dalla tirannia ai danni patrimoniali, dagli incendi alla liberazione delle anime purganti. Ma l’intercessione nella maternità, specialmente se in età avanzata, ha una propria ragione particolare.
Si era a metà del XIII secolo ed i coniugi Compagnone dei Guarinti e Amata dei Gaidani stavano invecchiando ed erano sull’orlo della disperazione per mancanza di prole. Abitavano a Castel Sant’Angelo, oggi Sant’Angelo in Pontano nella provincia di Macerata; vivevano in buone condizioni economiche, per cui un figlio poteva anche significare il passaggio delle eredità materiali. In quei tempi il mancato arrivo di un bimbo veniva sempre imputato alla donna, cosicché la lacuna stava nella impossibile maternità e non tanto in disfunzioni legate alla paternità. In tale ottica venivano ricercati i rimedi più o meno efficaci e magari anche qualche intervento del sortilegio.
Da cristiana credente la coppia di Castel Sant’Angelo ricorreva con sempre maggiore frequenza alla preghiera. Ad un certo momento si ricordarono del santo dei doni per eccellenza: con preghiere e lacrime supplicarono in effetti a lungo San Nicola di Bari. E nel 1245 nacque il tanto desiderato figlio che, per gratitudine, venne battezzato con quel nome. L’infanzia e la fanciullezza furono tranquilli, manifestando egli tuttavia una naturale inclinazione alla preghiera ed a una rigorosa osservanza dei propri doveri.
Così strutturato, Nicola avvicinò perciò gli agostiniani della città natale a dodici anni e fu novizio nel 1260. Compì poi gli studi necessari per il sacerdozio, ottenendo l’ordinazione a Cingoli, sempre non lontano da Macerata, nel 1269. Svolse in varie località l’apostolato affidatogli, finché nel 1275 si ritirò, forse per ragioni di salute, nell’eremo agostiniano di Tolentino. Qui mori trent’anni più tardi il 10 settembre 1305, dopo avere svolto l’apostolato del confessionale e dell’assistenza ai poveri ed avere vissuto in umiltà e penitenza.
In seguito alla definitiva canonizzazione nel 1446 il suo culto si diffuse in tutta Italia, in molti altri Paesi d’Europa e poi nelle Americhe, in parte anche per il graduale affermarsi dell’Ordine agostiniano. Già però Tolentino gli aveva costruito una basilica, ancora attualmente meta di pellegrinaggi e ricca di opere d’arte. I suoi resti mortali sono in gran parte custoditi nella cripta, tranne le “Sante Braccia” staccatesi e sanguinanti quarant’anni dopo la morte del santo. La Chiesa ricorda liturgicamente San Nicola da Tolentino il 10 settembre, il suo dies natalis.
Autore: Mario Benatti