St. Nuno Alvares Pereira: Hero of Portugal’s Independence

e-146-a_0001_1_p24-c-r0072The new saint that has gotten the most “press” among the group of five is Nuno de Santa Maria Álvares Pereira (1360-1431), because he played a significant role in the history of Portugal and is a “national hero” there.  

I don’t want to simply repeat what can already be found here, here, and here, for example, so for St. Nuno, just some fundamental “talking points”:

— He was the “illegitimate” son of a Portugese Hospitaller knight, whom I am assuming must also have been a monk, because the Vatican bio page identified his father with the title “Brother” and says he was a prior.

— Raised in an atmosphere of privilege, he was married at age 17 and had 3 children.

— As commander of the armies of Portugal, he was played a key role in the struggle for Portugese independence from Castille (particularly, the Battle of Aljubarrota in 1385). 

— His wife died when he was 27, and he went on to spend most of his time in prayer and doing works of charity.

— He entered a Carmelite monastery in 1423 (at age 63 — another late vocation!), taking the name Brother Nuno of St. Mary.

— “Pope Pius XII was on the verge of canonizing him by decree in 1940, but was dissuaded by Salazar (the leader of Portugal at the time). Blessed Nuno’s cause then remained at a stalemate. ”  (source)

— The Blessed Nuno Society is an American organization dedicated to the careof orphaned and homeless children, which puts itself under his patronage because of his love for poor children. 

— Feast day is November 1November 6April 1?  (Help, anyone?)

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