St. Peregrine Laziosi

Peregrine Laziosi was born in Forli, Italy in 1265. At that time, Forli was governed by the Pope as part of the Papal States. As a young man, Peregrine led a rebellious and dissolute life and was very hostile to the Church. He grew up in a family of well-to-do parents who were actively involved in the anti-papal party. Because of anti-papal political activity, the city was under the church penalty of interdict. This meant that Mass and the Sacraments could not be celebrated in the city.

St Philip Benizi, the Prior General of the Servants of Mary was sent to Forli to preach the reconciliation of the city and the removal of the penalty. Young Peregrine was so intense in his political commitment that he heckled St. Philip during the preaching and at one point punched St. Philip viciously in the face. This good and gentle saint meekly turned the other cheek. The moment of striking St. Philip seemed to drastically change Peregrine.

The Blessed Virgin appeared to Peregrine in a vision and urged him to go to Siena where he joined the Servants of Mary. Peregrine then returned to Forli, where he spent the rest of his life. The best information indicates that he was not a priest, but a choir brother, who undertook an apostolate among the people of Forli. He especially dedicated himself to a life of repentance, prayer and, whenever possible, helped the sick and the poor.

He also imposed a special penance on himself to stand whenever it was not necessary to sit. This led to varicose veins. The varicose veins deteriorated into an open, running sore on his leg. The sore was diagnosed as cancer. The wound became so obvious, odorous and painful that the local surgeon scheduled surgery to amputate the leg.


Suddenly Peregrine was confronted with the ugliness and suffering of his own life. He had given himself to people in similar situations and then found he must lean on his own faith in the goodness of God. At the age of 60, he was challenged to carry a new and more difficult cross. The night before the surgery, Peregrine prayed before the image of the crucified Christ. His prayer led him into a deep trance-like sleep during which he envisioned the crucified Christ leaving the cross and touching his cancerous leg. When Peregrine awoke from the trance of prayer, the wound was healed and the leg was saved.

Peregrine lived another 20 years. He died on May 1, 1345 at the age of 80 and was canonized on December 27, 1726. Peregrine has been named the Patron Saint of those suffering from cancer. His feast day is celebrated on May 2nd.

Friends of St. Peregrine, Inc.

Return to History Page