Benedictine hermit; d. S. Maria delle Viole, near Assisi, Italy, probably May 31, 1370. Vitalis, an outlaw in his early life, turned to a life of asceticism. The Benedictines of Monte Subasio received him and assigned him the hermitage connected with the chapel of S. Maria delle Viole. There he lived 20 years in severe mortification. His example led to the foundation of a society of laymen, dedicated to the care of the sick and needy, which existed until the 17th century. His body was buried in the chapel of S. Maria until 1587, when it was transferred to the cathedral at Assisi. He was honored as a saint there as early as 1377. His feast day was first celebrated by the Cobblers Guild on January 7; then on May 31, on which day a procession, displaying his relics, is held.
Feast: May 31; Sept. 22 (translation).
Bibliography: Acta Sanctorum May 7:467. a. m. zimmermann, Kalendarium Benedictinum: Die Heiligen und Seligen des Benediktinerorderns und seiner Zweige, 4 v. (Metten 1933–38) 2:252–253.
[j. j. smith]