St. Lawrence of Brindisi
St. Lawrence was born on July 22, 1559 and died exactly 60 years later on his birthday in 1619. His parents William and Elizabeth Russo gave him the name Julius Caesar, Caesare in Italian. After the early death of his parents, he as educated by his uncle at the College of St. Mark in Venice. When was just 16 he entered the Capuchin Franciscan Order in Venice and received the name Lawrence. He completed his studies of philosophy and theology at the University of Padua and was ordained priest at 23.
At first glance perhaps the most remarkable quality of Lawrence of Brindisi is his outstanding gift of languages. In addition to a thorough knowledge of his native Italian, he had complete reading and speaking ability in Latin, Hebrew, German, Bohemian, Spanish and French.
With his facility for languages he was able to study the Bible in its original texts. At the request of Pope Clement VIII, he spent much time preaching to the Jews in Italy. So excellent was his knowledge of Hebrew , the Rabbis felt sure he was a jew who had become a Christian.