Nicholas of Tolentino, St.
NICHOLAS OF TOLENTINO, ST.
Augustinian friar; b. 1245, Sant'Angelo in Pontano; d. Tolentino, Sept. 10, 1305. He was named after St. Nicholas of Myra, whose shrine at Bari was visited by his parents before his birth. He entered the Augustinians around the time of the order's final stage of formation in 1256. After ordination to the priesthood, he served in various houses of the order in the region of the Marches until he received his final appointment to Tolentino around 1275. The main sources of information are a Life by Peter of Monterubbiano (dated 1326 by the Bollandists) and the documents collected in the investigation (1325) conducted
for his canonization. Peter presents Nicholas as a model religious, favored by God with visions, able to work miracles, combating demons, observing severe fasts, nightly vigils and strict poverty, yet compassionate towards others, living and dead. Recent studies have paid greater attention to the contemporary testimony collected in the canonical investigation. The witnesses emphasize his apostolate as a kindly confessor, a prudent counselor, an advocate and helper of the poor and sick, and a powerful intercessor before God. After many delays in the process, Pope Eugene IV canonized him in 1446. Nicholas was the first member of the Augustinians to receive this honor. Devotion to him spread in Italy, Spain, France, Belgium and Germany and later in the 16th and 17th centuries in Latin America. In the United States several parishes as well as some institutions of the Augustinians bear his name. He is revered as the patron of the souls in purgatory. He is usually represented wearing his habit with a star on his chest and holding a lily or a book. Magnificent 14th-century frescos adorn his richly decorated shrine at Tolentino.
Feast: Sept. 10.
Bibliography: Sources. Acta sanctorum Sept. 3:636–743. Il processo per la canonizzazione di S. Nicola da Tolentino, ed. n. occhioni (Rome 1984). Literature. d. gentile, Un asceta e un apostolo: San Nicola da Tolentino (2d ed.; Tolentino 1978), with extensive bibliography; Bibliotheca sanctorum 9:953 968. San Nicola, Tolentino, le Marche: Contributi e ricerche sul processo (a.1325) per la canonizzazione di San Nicola da Tolentino, Convegno Internazionale di Studi Tolentino, 4–7 settembre 1985 (Tolentino 1985).
[k. a. gersbach]