Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”


Today is the Feast of Blessed Peter Pattarini, who was a Prior of the Order. May we on this day offer special prayers for our own Grand Prior, Fra Fredrik Crichton-Stuart, who like Blessed Peter, is striving to promote the Religious vocation of all Members of the Order.

With Blessed Fra' Peter d'Imola, who was born about 1250 at Imola (Italy) into the family of the lords of Linasio, we find another aspect of the Order, which has always been interested in matters of the spirit. He was a well-known jurist of his times, he mediated between the Guelphs and Ghibellines at Romagna in 1297. Of his earthly life few things are known. He was born at Imola, Emilia, and Prior of the Hospital in Rome. Was he the Commander in Florence? That is a supposition which takes its likelihood from the fact that, after his death (October 15, 1320); he was buried in that city in the church of Saint James in Campo Corbellini, which belonged to the Order.

Relic of Blessed Peter.
But if the existence of the Blessed Peter passed almost unnoticed here on earth, (it is enough to be a real saint, no one except God knowing it no one including the saint himself!), that was not the case after he died.

One day the brothers were preparing and adorning the church to celebrate the feast of Saint James in a worthy fashion. A high ladder had been placed against the tomb of the Blessed Peter, and one of the priests was working hard to attach a hanging to the wall. His support began to slip, threatening greatly to fall and shatter the bones of its religious burden. It was then that the clerics present saw the arm of the holy man open the tomb slightly and hold the falling ladder as it passed him.

In consequence of that miracle, which was charitable though macabre, and well-authenticated by witnesses, the venerable body was taken out of its resting place - relative rest - and placed under the main altar in a reliquary that Commander Fra' Augustine Mego had made for it, not without having set aside the miracle-working arm in a little box.

Nevertheless, it must be admitted that our saint is particularly humble, for, though we already knew so little about him, he allowed the documents concerning him - both his life and his miracles - to disappear When his church was flooded during the great inundation of the Arno, in 1557. The reliquary was submerged for several days; evidently, it must have suffered much damage, together with the relics it contained. But in the 17th century, they still venerated the arm, which had been preserved with its flesh and nails.

May we, like Peter d'Imola, be learned, pious, courageous and beneficent, alive and dead, without, however acting too much the ghost. His humility, his charity, his knowledge, are virtues which we shall try to imitate without risking error, in the great simplicity of God.

His feast is celebrated on the fifth day of October.

(From: Ducaud-Bourget, Msgr. Fran├žois: The Spiritual Heritage of The Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Vatican 1958)

O God, who gave to blessed Peter, Prior of our Order, the gift of healing discord and division, grant to us through his prayers the grace of striving for peace and so being called the children of God. Through the same Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.