Berard of Carbio and Companions, Ss.

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Franciscan protomartyrs; d. Morocco, Jan. 16, 1220. At the Franciscan General Chapter of 1219, francis of assisi decided to send friars to the missions and six were chosen for Morocco: Vitalis, Berard, Peter, Adjutus, Accursio, and Odo. Vitalis, who became ill, remained in Aragon. The others went to Coimbra, then to Alenquer, and thence to Seville. To free himself from their proselytizing, the Moorish governor Aboul Ala banished them to Morocco into the charge of Pedro Fernandez, a Christian. In Marrakech, the missionaries stayed at the home of Dom Pedro, exiled brother of Alfonso II of Portugal. Berard, who alone knew Arabic, insisted on preaching. Sultan Aboidile (Abou Yacoub) in vain ordered the friars to leave the country; he then imprisoned them for 20 days without food. But as soon as they were free, they resumed their apostolate in the city. During an expedition led by Dom Pedro against bandits, Berard, who was serving as a chaplain for the prince, gained the good will of the prince's Moorish troops. Upon returning to the capital, Berard persisted in preaching, until the sultan himself encountered the friars on the road. During the interrogationin which Prince Abou Said tried to save them Odo drew attention by his fearless answers, and the sultan, exasperated, ordered their execution. Dom Pedro collected the relics of the martyrs in two silver reliquaries and, upon his return to Portugal, brought them to Ceuta, to Seville, and then to Coimbra, where they were deposited at Santa Cruz. The career of these martyrs and the presence of their relics in the church of the canons reg ular of St. Augustine in Coimbra determined the Franciscan vocation of anthony of padua. The cult of Berard and his companions was approved by Sixtus IV on Aug. 4, 1481.

Feast: Jan. 16.

Bibliography: Chronica XXIV Generalium Ordinis Minorum, Analecta Franciscana 3 (1897) 579596. jordan of giano, Chronica fratris Jordani, ed. h. boehmer (Paris 1908) 7,n. 1. giles of assisi, Dicta (Quarracchi-Florence 1905). lÉon de clary, Lives of the Saints and Blessed of the Three Orders of St. Francis, 4 v. (Taunton, Eng. 188587) 1:99111. h. koehler, L'Église chrétienne du Maroc (Paris 1935). e. longprÉ, Catholicisme 1:145758. Bibliotheca Sanctorum 2:127172.

[j. cambell]