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Bl. Conrad of Offida
Friar Minor, b. at Offida, a little town in the March of Ancona, c. 1241; d. at Bastia in Umbria, 12 December, 1306. When barely fourteen years old he entered the Order of Friars Minor at Ascoli, and was making rapid progress in the study of sacred sciences, when an internal voice called him to humbler offices of the religious life. He therefore abandoned his studies with the consent of his superiors, and for many years was employed as cook and questor. His superiors subsequently had him ordained and sent him forth to preach. His impassioned sermons touched the hearts of the most hardened. Conrad modelled his life after that of his seraphic father, St. Francis. He was especially zealous for the observance of poverty. During his long religious life he always wore the same habit and always went barefoot, without sandals. The early legend declares that Conrad's guardian angel was the same that had formerly fulfilled this office for St. Francis, and that Blessed Giles came back to earth to teach him the mysteries of contemplation. When Brother Leo, the companion and confessor of St. Francis, was dying, he sent for Conrad and made him the depositary of his writings. Conrad was allied with Angelo Clareno and intimately united with John of La Penna, John of Parma, Peter of John Olivi, Peter of Monticello, and others of the "Spirituals". In 1294 he obtained permission from Celestine V to separate from the main body of the order and found the Celestines by whom the rule of St. Francis was observed in all its purity. When this congregation was suppressed by Boniface VIII, Conrad immediately returned under the authority of the superiors of the order. The letter written in 1295 by Peter of John Olivi to Blessed Conrad in which the legitimacy of Boniface VIII's election is defended, has been edited by Ignatius Jeiler (Historisches Jahrbuch, III, 649). During a course of missions he was giving at Bastia, he passed away at the age of about sixty-five years and was buried in that place. Fifty-six years later his remains were carried off by the Perugians and buried at San Francesco. They now repose beside those of Blessed Giles in the choir of the cathedral at Perugia. Pius VII in 1817 ratified the cultus of Blessed Conrad. His feast is kept in the Order of Friars Minor on 19 December.
STEPHEN M. DONOVAN