Home  »  Volume IV: April  »  St. Joachim of Sienna of the Order of Servites, Confessor

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume IV: April. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.

April 16

St. Joachim of Sienna of the Order of Servites, Confessor

HE was a native of Sienna, of the noble family of Pelacani. No sooner had he attained to the use of reason, than he discovered a happy inclination to piety. He seemed to have sucked in with his mother’s milk a singular devotion to the Blessed Virgin; and it was his greatest pleasure in his childhood to pray before her image or altar, and to repeat often, and in all places, the angelical salutation, Ave Maria. His charity for the poor was not less extraordinary than his devotion. He stripped himself to clothe and relieve them: whatever was given him for his pocket he bestowed in alms. Moreover, he never ceased to solicit his parents in favour of the distressed. His father one day checked him, and told him that prudence ought to set bounds to his liberality, or he would reduce his whole family to poverty. The compassionate youth modestly replied: “You have taught me that an alms is given to Jesus Christ, in the persons of the poor: can we refuse him anything? And what is the advantage of riches, but that they be employed in purchasing treasures in heaven?” The father wept for joy to hear such generous sentiments of virtue from one of so tender an age, and so dear to him. He sometimes caught his little son at his devotions at midnight, for which he secretly rose from his bed whilst others slept. The saint, at fourteen years of age, received the religious habit from the hands of St. Philip Beniti, in 1272, and out of devotion to the mother of God took the name of Joachim. Such was his fervour, from the first day he entered the convent, that the most advanced looked upon him as a perfect model. All virtues were in him most conspicuous; but none more admirable than the spirit of prayer, and an extraordinary humility and love of abjection. He strenuously resisted the utmost endeavours that could be used to promote him to the priesthood: which dignity he always looked upon with trembling. To serve at mass was the height of his ambition: and he often assisted at that adorable sacrifice in raptures of devotion. The meanest and most painful offices and drudgery of the house were his great delight: for true humility is never more pleased than in humiliations and obscurity, as pride finds its pleasure in public and great actions, which attract the eyes of others. The whole life of this saint seemed a continual study to conceal himself from men, and to lie hid from the world: but the more he fled the esteem of others the more it followed him. Seeing himself too much respected and honoured at Sienna, he earnestly entreated his general to remove him to some remote house of the Order, where he hoped to remain unknown. Arezzo was allotted him: but as soon as his departure was known, the whole city of Sienna was in a tumult, till, to appease the people, he was recalled into his own country, of which he continued to his death the glory, and, by his prayers and example, the support and comfort. God honoured him with miracles both before and after his death, which happened on the 16th of April, in the year 1305, of his age the forty-seventh. The popes, Paul V. and Urban VIII. granted to his Order the license of celebrating his festival with an office. See his life written by Attavanti, a priest of the same Order at Florence: also Giani’s Annals, &c.  1