Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Apostolic Doctor

Today is the Feast of St. Lorenzo da Brindisi (1559-1619), Doctor of the Church. He's a hard one to find in English; translations have been done, but because he's not an especially widely known saint in the Anglophone world, they go out of print quickly or else end up being extremely expensive. He was born Cesare Giulio Russo, and was famous for his language skills: he knew Greek and Hebrew, and was conversationally fluent in Italian, Latin, German, Spanish, French, and a few others. Part of this was native talent, and part of it was that he used them all extensively, since he both traveled widely as a Franciscan preacher and was appointed to a number of diplomatic missions by Rome. His sermons on the Virgin Mary have always been especially highly praised. He was beatified by Pius VI, canonized by Leo XIII, and named Doctor of the Church by John XXIII.

Some links on Lawrence of Brindisi:

St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Apostolic Doctor

The 'Woman Clothed with the Sun' according to St. Lawrence of Brindisi

"Hail, Full of Grace": Sermons of St. Lawrence of Brindisi


  1. I had a professor in college who claimed he had found in St. Lawrence the expression "all the world's a stage etc." and theorized that Shakespeare was ripping it off from him. Every few years I idly plan to try to hunt it down, but I always defer for a non-Italian project. Shakespeare's fondness of Italian poetry makes it sound plausible, but the professor in question is a Franciscan...

  2. branemrys6:42 AM

    Interesting. I wonder how close it was, particularly since tutto il mondo means 'everyone' -- assuming he was right, was the expression he was referring a comment about the world being a stage, or was it about everyone being an actor, with Shakespeare adapting 'all the world' from the Italian expression, or something else?

    But St. Lawrence's works are mostly in Latin, and he has something like eleven volumes of sermons alone, so it would be a big project.

  3. Pretty sure it was a sermon, but I did not realize his sermons were Latin. Thought I was going to have to deal with renaissance-y Italian. Not sure I'm up for plowing through 11 volumes either way, but maybe some day...

  4. branemrys11:30 AM

    I think some of them may be in Italian, but I'm not sure; I know most of them, at least, are in Latin.


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