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Rainier of Pisa

(1117—1161)


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(1117–61),

pilgrim, hermit, and preacher. Born in Pisa, the son of a prosperous merchant Scacceri who had benefited from his town's growing trade with the East, Rainier learnt Latin as a youth. In 1140 he abandoned his worldly way of life through contact with a monk, and went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land where he stayed until 1153, having become a hermit. He then returned to his native town, lived as a monk at St Andrew in Kinzica and then at San Vito. His early knowledge of Latin gave him access to the Bible and the Church Offices and enabled him to preach on occasion. He enjoyed a reputation for austerity, for accomplishing conversions, as well as healings. This brought popular acclaim on his death, which resulted in the significant burial of his body in Pisa cathedral, where it still remains. He was probably canonized by Alexander III, became patron of Pisa in the 13th century, and his name was entered in the Roman Martyrology in the 17th. A contemporary Life was written by his confidant and counsellor Canon Benincasa. Feast: 17 June.

AA.SS. Iun. III (1743), 421–69; H.S.S.C., vi. 281; Bibl. SS., xi. 37–44. Life by I. Felici (1961). C. Morris in J.E.H., xlv (1994), 588–99.

Subjects: Christianity.


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