Born in 1265 in Forli, Italy, Peregrine was regarded a firebrand of his day. During the days of conflict between the Pope and the Emperor, he became involved in this conflict against the Pope. When Philip Benizi (a Servite Friar and General of the Order) visited the town and attempted mediation he was driven out of the town by the people there, among whom was Peregrine.
After the incident Peregrine, on reflection, regretted the part he had played in this incident and sought out Philip to ask his forgiveness. Being met not with hostility but loving forgiveness Peregrine changed his way of living so much that he was regarded by all as a man of prayer and peace. Eventually he entered the Servite Order as a lay brother.
After taking vows Peregrine returned to his town of Forli and set about a life of service on behalf of the sick and poor. He developed his life of prayer and penance over the remainder of his life time.
Due to physical penances undertaken by himself, Peregrine developed varicose veins when he was sixty years of age and, on his right leg, these became malignant. Amputation was thought to be necessary if his life was to be saved.
On the night before the operation Peregrine dragged himself before the crucifix in the Chapter room of the Forli priory. There he became drowsy and seemed to see Jesus descend from the cross to heal his leg. The following day, the doctor came to perform the amputation but could find no sign of the wound. He was shocked to see this and very soon the whole of Forli was talking about the great miracle that had taken place. Peregrine died of a fever in 1345. He was canonised by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726 and he is known as a powerful patron of those who suffer from cancer. His feast is celebrated by the Church on the 4th of May.
The Servite Friars hold masses of healing at each of their priories and commend their Servite brother to all who are in search of support and healing. Masses for the sick and devotion to Saint Peregrine are held at venues around England, Ireland & Scotland.
Prayer to Saint Peregrine
St. Peregrine, you have given us an example to follow; as a Christian you were steadfast in love; as a Servite you were faithful in service; as a Penitent you humbly acknowledged your sin; afflicted you bore suffering with patience. Intercede for us, then, with our Heavenly Father so that we, steadfast, humble and patient may receive from Christ Jesus the Grace we ask.
Let us Pray:
O God, in St. Peregrine you gave us an outstanding example of faith and patience, we humbly ask that, by imitating Him and by the help of His Prayers, we will believe more fully in your healing help, bear the sufferings of this life without wavering, and come with joy to the peace of Heaven. We ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.