Fidelis of Sigmaringen, St.
FIDELIS OF SIGMARINGEN, ST.
Capuchin martyr; b. Mark Roy, Sigmaringen, Swabia, October 1578; d. Seewis, Präittigau, Switzerland, April 24, 1622. From December 1598 he studied at Freiburg-im-Breisgau, where he received doctorates in philosophy (1603) and canon and civil law (1611). Roy was tutor to noble children on a trip through France, Italy, and Spain (1604–10). He gave up the practice of law in Ensisheim, was ordained, and entered the Capuchins in Freiburg, Oct. 4, 1612, as Fidelis of Sigmaringen. In 1614 he went to Constance and Frauenfeld to study theology, and in 1617 began to preach. He was guardian at Rheinfeld (1618–19), Feldkirch (1619–20), Freiburg (1620–21), and again at Feldkirch from 1621 to his death. As a member of a Capuchin mission in Rhaetia dependent on Austria (Nov. 13, 1621) and on the Congregation for the propagation of the faith (Jan. 1622), Fidelis preached among the Grisons, who from 1608 had turned to Protestantism and were in revolt against Austria. He converted several important leaders; but when he went to Seewis against the advice of his friends, he was assaulted and slain in the church, April 24, 1622. In November 1622, after the Austrians had conquered the area, his relics were translated to Chur, and to Feldkirch. His beatification, initiated in 1623, was proclaimed March 12, 1729, and he was canonized June 26, 1746. On Feb. 16, 1771, he was called the proto-martyr of the Propagation of the Faith, and his cult was extended to the whole Church. Some of his extant writings have been published, and a number of vitae have been written. He is the patron of lawyers, the Sigmaringen, and the Hohenzollern.
Feast: April 24.
Bibliography: b. fischer, Fidelis von Sigmaringen und seine Zeit (Stein am Rhein 1991). r. schell, Fidelis von Sigmaringen (Sigmaringen 1976). f. tomann, Dreihundertfünfzig] Jahre St. Fidelis. (Feldkirch 1972.) h. korff, Biographica Catholica (Freiburg 1927). p. willibrord de paris, Catholicisme 4:1262–64. h. r. guggisberg, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart 2:935.
[f. d. s. boran]