Who Is St. Pascal Baylon?
Saint Pascal Baylon was born May 24, 1540, on the Feast of Pentecost at Torre-Hermosa in northeastern Spain. He was the son of virtuous peasant farmers. In early childhood, Pascal began to display signs of exceptional devotion to the Holy Eucharist. While tending sheep as a youth, Pascal spent countless hours in meditation on the Blessed Sacrament.
When he was twenty-four, he applied for admission as a lay brother to the Franciscan community of Lorento in eastern Spain. He was accepted into the community and was given humble jobs including cook, gardener and porter. He carried these out faithfully, but what truly impressed his community was his dedication to the mystery of the Holy Eucharist. His joy in life was to pray before the tabernacle, often spending the night in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.
Pascal revealed the love of God through his many acts of kindness. To the poor and sick that came to the monastery, he showed himself to be patient, gentle and very generous in distributing supplies that were put at his disposal.
While journeying through France, Pascal triumphantly defended the dogma of the Real Presence against heretics, and as a consequence, narrowly escaped death at the hands of a Huguenot mob.
Pascal died on the same feast on which he was born - the Feast of Pentecost - in 1592. An unusual number of miracles took place at his tomb. As a result of these miracles and because of his exceptional dedication the Holy Eucharist, Pascal was canonized in 1690. In 1897, Pope Leo XIII declared Saint Pascal the patron and protector of all Eucharistic Congresses and Associations. His feast is observed on May 17.