St. Peter Gonzalez was born in Castille, Spain, in 1190. He was a member of a noble family, and became a priest as a step to a high office.
One Christmas, during a grand entrance into the city, Peter was thrown from his horse into a pile of dung. He was humiliated in front of all the townspeople, and he believed they knew he was a fake. Peter withdrew from the world, taking time to pray and meditate.
During his time away, Peter had a conversion. He spent the rest of his life making up for the mistakes of his past, joining the Dominicans, and shunning those who tried to get him to return to his old life, saying, “If you love me, follow me! If you cannot follow me, forget me!”
Peter served as confessor and court chaplain for St. Ferdinand III, king of Castile. He reformed the court life, worked for the crusade against the Moors, and fought for humane treatment of Moorish prisoners.
Eventually, Peter came to fear that the court life would lead him to return to his previous ways, so he left the court and went to evangelize shepherds and sailors.
St. Peter died in 1246, and was canonized in 1741.