Conrad Confalonieri of Piacenza


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Hermit (1284–1351).

Little is known of his life; hagiographers used their vivid imagination to provide detail. This ‘received’ version makes him a married nobleman of northern Italy who started a bush fire to drive out game he was hunting. A poor man was found nearby, was accused and sentenced to death, when Conrad (aged 25) confessed to the crime and paid the damages which exhausted his wealth and that of his wife. He became a hermit and she a Poor Clare: austerity and piety were his characteristics and eventually crowds came to see him.

To avoid these, he moved to Sicily for the remaining 30 years of his life. But here too, in Noto holiness brought fame, and people suffering from various illnesses flocked to be cured: a speciality of his healing was that of hernia and rupture. His life is a reminder of the importance of hermits in the Middle Ages and how (for whatever reason) they were attributed with healing powers. His cult was confirmed in 1515. The new Roman Martyrology accepts that he was a Franciscan tertiary and praises his forty-year hermit life, conspicuous for prayer and penance. Feast: 19 February.

F. Rotole Vita beati Conradi (Palermo 1995), and see Anal. Boll. 116 (1998), 413, M.A. Habig, The Franciscan Book of Saints (1979), pp. 127–30;B.L.S. ii, 202;Bibl. SS. iv, 212–6;Life by E. Guiti (1859).

Subjects: Christianity.

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