04 Feb Saint Andrew Corsini, Bishop, Confessor
Today is the feast day of Saint Andrew Corsini. Ora pro nobis.
by Rev. Peter Richard Kenrick, 1840
Saint Andrew Corsini affords us, in his life, an example from which we may learn how efficacious is the intercession of the Queen of Saints, in withdrawing the sinner from the error of his way, and exciting him to aspire to, and attain, a high degree of perfection. Before the birth of Andrew, he was offered to the Blessed Virgin, by his holy parents as the first fruits of their marriage. On the night in which he was bom, his mother, Peregrina, had a dream which filled her with alarm. It seemed to her, as if she had brought forth a wolf, who, fleeing to a church, was changed into a lamb. This was a picture of what was afterwards to happen to Andrew. His pious parents employed every care and precaution, to bring him up in the fear of God; but, as too often happens, through the influence of bad company, an immoderate desire of play, and neglect of duty, he fell into the greatest disorders. Dissipation hurried him from one vice to another; until he was without affection for his parents, whom he disobeyed without remorse; so that all who knew him were full of apprehension for the future.
Meanwhile, his mother, mindful of her dream, sought consolation from Mary by continual prayer. Andrew, while one day preparing for a party of pleasure, expressed himself in a very disrespectful manner to his mother; she burst into tears, and told him the depth of her affliction. “Indeed, son,” said she, “you are the wolf that I saw in my dream.” Somewhat moved at these words, he said: “What do you say, mother? Am I a wolf?” Peregrina hereupon related the dream that she had had, and also mentioned that, before his birth, she had offered him to the Blessed Virgin. So great was the impression this made on Andrew, that he was unable to sleep during the following night. The thought, that he had been dedicated to the Mother of God occupied his mind. “Virgin Mother,” he at length exclaimed, “because I am thy servant, I will unceasingly serve thee.”
At the break of day, he went to the church of the Carmelites, and prostrating himself before an image of Mary, offered himself up to this merciful Mother, and bade her change this wolf into a lamb. He frequently repeated this prayer; at length it was heard. To serve the holy Virgin in a perfect manner, he asked the prior of the convent to admit him into the order. Having obtained this request, he showed, by the piety of his life, that the dream of his mother was not an idle fancy. Andrew made great advances in virtue, and was soon an experienced master in perfection. He was subsequently ordained priest, in obedience to the orders of his superior, and soon after was made bishop. In all the circumstances of his life, he cherished a fervent devotion to Mary, his powerful protectress; and sought all opportunities of proclaiming her praises. He was called to the nuptials of the heavenly Lamb in 1373, and experienced, in his last hours, the powerful intercession of her, who had procured for him the grace of conversion, and inspired him with the desire for perfection. (2)
Saint Andrew became ill on Christmas Day 1372 and died on 6 January 1373. He was buried in the Carmelite church in Florence. Miracles so multiplied at his death that the pope allowed permitted a public cult quite quickly after he died; but it was only in 1629 that Pope Urban VIII (Maffeo Barberini 1623-44) canonized him. In the early eighteenth century, Pope Clement XII, born Lorenzo Corsini, erected in the Roman Basilica of St. John Lateran a magnificent chapel dedicated to his 14th century kinsman. (5)
Image: Hl. Andreas Corsini im Gebet, Artist: Guido Reni, circa 1630.
Research by Ed Masters, REGINA Staff