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Conrad of Parzham, St.


Lay brother; b. Parzham, Germany, Dec. 22, 1818;d. Altötting, Germany, April 21, 1894. John, as he was baptized, was the ninth of ten children born to Bartholomew and Gertrude Birndorfer, both of whom died while John was an adolescent. He worked on the family farm until the age of 30 and then sacrificed his inheritance to enter the capuchins. He pronounced his solemn vows on Oct. 4, 1852, and for the next 41 years he served the friary of Altötting as doorkeeper. Altötting, a shrine center, brought to the friary door an almost continuous flow of pilgrims and beggars, whom Conrad served with wonderful charity, meekness, and patience. The poor, whom he fed every day, especially experienced his virtues. He was extraordinarily devoted to the Mother of God, and he prayed far into the night before the Blessed Sacrament. He resigned his arduous duties only when physically worn out, three days before his death at the age of 76. Brother Conrad was beatified (June 15, 1930) and canonized (May 20, 1934). His relics are enshrined in the Church of St. Ann, Altötting. He is usually depicted feeding the poor or gazing upon the cross held in his hands.

Feast: April 21.

Bibliography: j. a. von harsberg, Blessed Conrad of Parzham, tr. a. neufeld (Detroit 1932). g. bergmann, Bruder Konrad von Parzham. Einer der klein genung war (Altötting 1965); Bruder zwischen gestern und morgen: Konrad von Porzham (Passau 1974). c. cargnonl, The Capuchin Way: Lives of Capuchins (North American Capuchin Conference 1996) 180206.

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