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


Today, in addition to being the Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord, at least in some places, and of Saint Oliver Plunkett, (to whom many members and friends of the Order in Britain are related, and for whom we pray especially this day) is also the feast of Saint Nicasius, martyr of our Order.
The reliquary of the Saint in Caccamo
Nicasius holds an honoured place in the Order's calendar by sharing his feast with the Octave Day of that of our holy Patron Saint John the Baptist. 

He was born in Sicily in 1135. As a knight of the Order of Saint John, he fought as one of the defenders at the siege of Acre in Palestine and was captured and beheaded there in 1187 with many others, including, it is said, his brother Ferrandino.

There is popular belief about Nicasius still current in Sicily, and one hopes in our Order :   under his effigy, drawn on a column of Saint Dominic of Palermo, can be read this inscription, "S. Nicasius Martyr et Miles Domini nostri Jesu Christi, multas in collo habuit glandulas et imperavit a Domino nostro Jesu Christo ut quicumque nomen suum supra se portaverit, glandulae ei nocere non poterint. Amen". Therefore, our Knight was either scrofulous or suffered from scrofula as a consequence of his tortures. He will guard us from scrofula from his high place in heaven, on one simple condition: if our 'glands' worry us or trouble our children, let us write with confidence the name of Saint Nicasius and let us wear it on us or put it in the clothing of the patient; the holy Martyr will indeed know how to cure the disease he knew.

On October 4, 1996 the Archbishop of Palermo, Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi issued a decree  to reactivate the ancient Confraternity of Saint Nicasius. The Martyrologium Romanum promulgated in 2001 by Saint John Paul II set the liturgical festivities of Saint Nicasius Martyr to the July 1 “Die 1 iulii – Ptolemaide in Palestina, sancti Nicasii, equitis Ordinis Sancti Ioannis Hiresolymitani et martyris, qui in terrae Sanctae defensione a Saracenis captus et decollatus est”. (July 1, Ptolomaides, in Palestine, to Saint Nicasius martyr, knight of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, who in the defense of the Holy Land was captured and decapitated by the Saracens). In Caccamo, every year, besides the liturgical festival on July 1, the transfer of the relic of Saint Nicasius is celebrated on the last Sunday of August and the following Monday.
Collect : O God, every year you give us joy in the commemoration of your martyr, blessed Nicasius: grant that through his prayers and example the companions of our Order may grow in faith and always follow you with all their hearts. Through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.