Biography of St. Peregrine Laziosi
In the main square of Forlì, a friar named Filippo Benizi, who was the general prior of the Order of Friar Servants of Mary, prompts people to abide with the precepts of Pope Martin IV, after the rebel city interdiction on March 26, 1282. People do not appreciate the friar’s speech… Whistles, insults and jerks force the friar to leave to leave the city.
Pellegrino Laziosi, a young noble man, is among the dissenters. Uneasiness und remorse then come to the fore. He runs after Filippo Benzi on the via Emilia and once he has reached by the river Ronco, he throws himself at the friar’s feet asking for forgiveness.When Filippo embraces him, Pellegrino undergoes a radical change. Inside the Cathedral of Forlì, at the foot of the Virgin Mary’s picture, he feels called and asks to be admitted to the Order of Friar Servants of Mary. The friar Filippo Benzi himself welcomes him to the order in Siena. There he meets two friars from Siena, blessed Giocchino and blessed Francesco, who lay the foundation for Pellegrino’s santity.
Around 1295 Pellegrino went back from Siena to his home town, Forlì, where he spent his life praying, doing penance and helping the poor and then died.
A revealing episode took place around 1325, when he was almost sixty years old. A painful gangrene to the right hand leg became so serious that the friary physician, Paolo Salaghi, had to amputate the sore limp. During the night before the operation, Pellegrino made it with difficulty to the large Crucifix located inside the room and there, he besought Jesus to heal him.While he was half-asleep, he saw Jesus touching his sore leg and he was instantly healed. This event showed the sanctity of the humble friar of the Servants of Mary, everybody rushed to. History has it that such a large crowd of people came to pay their tributes to him upon communication of his death in 1345 that the doors of the city could not be shut. His body was exposed in the choir of the church: everybody wanted to get close and touch the body with objects and relics. Among the people, a blind person was asking for help and it seems that Pellegrino woke up and healed him instantly.A woman possessed by the devil was delivered.
The cult of Pellegrino Laziosi was then approved of in 1609 by Pope Paul V, who beatified him. Once the canonization procedure had been complied with, Pope Benedict XIII made him saint in 1726.
The oldest document relating Saint Pellegrino is his legend – his short but brilliant biography written in fourteenth-century Latin shortly after his death by a brother who had met him. The orginal text of the legend, which went missing later on, was faithfully transcribed into classical Latin in 1483 by Nicolò Borghese (1432-1500), a well-known man of letters and politician from the city of Siena and friend of the Order of Friar Servants of Mary. He is considered the most important artist of Siena in the second half of the fifteenth-century.