St. Paschal Baylon was born in Torre-Hermosa, in the kingdom of Aragon, on the feast of Pentecost, May 24, 1540. In Spain, Pentecost is called the “Pasch of the Holy Ghost,” so his parents, virtuous peasants, named him Paschal.
From an early age, Paschal displayed signs of intense devotion towards the Eucharist. From the ages of 7 to 24, he was a shepherd, and then was received as a lay brother by the Franciscan friars of the Alcantarine Reform. He spent many years in contemplation and sacrifice within the cloister.
Paschal was known for his work with the poor and the sick. Although he did not receive much education, he defended the dogma of the Real Presence in the Eucharist against a Calvinist preacher, and provided counsel to many.
St. Paschal died at Villa Reale on May 15, 1592. He was beatified in 1618 and canonized in 1690. In the apostolic letter Providentissimus Deus, Leo XII declared St. Paschal the especial heavenly protector of all Eucharistic Congresses and Associations.
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