March 20

Bl. John of Parma

Blessed John of Parma

Early Life

Blessed John of Parma was born circa 1209 in Parma, Italy. It wasrecorded that his family name was Buralli.

Blessed John was said to have been of noble descent. There is not muchinformation about his parents or any sibling.

Blessed John was trained and taught by his uncle who was at that timecleric of the St. Lazarus Church. He was such an intelligent young manthat after completing basic education, he was appointed tutor ofPhilosophy.

He was pious and numbered for more spiritual knowledge. This caused himto join the Order of the Friars Minor at the age of 25. There hededicated his time and body to practicing religion.

Blessed John was humble and practiced poverty to help rid him of anyearthly anchors.

He was appointed priest and became a teacher at notable institutionslike the Universities of Naples, Bologna, and finally, Paris.

In the July of 1247, Blessed John was elected Minister General. This waspartly influenced by Pope Innocent IV who had taken a special liking tohim.

Blessed John served for ten years until the 2nd of February, 1257.

Dedication and Devotion

All the activities carried out by Blessed John we’re documented thanksto a man called Salimbene. Salimbene worked and went everywhere withBlessed John.

Blessed John was hardworking and needed to see the whole of the Order.He went around from one community to the other on foot and mostlyclothed poorly. He was said to always have been escorted by just one ortwo friars.

His first stop was England where he was welcomed by King Henry III.There, he was impressed by the state of the Order and so traveled on toFrance.

In France, he was welcomed by King Louis IX. From then on, he passedthrough to Burgundy and Provence. Finally, in the September of 1248, heset out for Spain.

In Spain, on request of Pope Innocent, Blessed John hosted the Chapterof Metz. It was at this Chapter that he set up a new document to guidethe Order.

It was during this time that trouble began brewing between themendicants and the University of Paris.

Blessed John fought for peace between both parties. Afterward, he wrotea letter that would be released in Milan in 1255. This letter was askingfor peace between the warring Dominican and Franciscan Orders.


Due to these disputes, Blessed John’s authority was undermined. This,and some other reasons caused by political challenges, caused BlessedJohn to leave his post.

It is recorded that Pope Alexander II might have been a key player inthe resignation of Blessed John. Salimbene tried to convince BlessedJohn not to resign but without success.

Blessed John resigned office certain that he could do nothing more tohelp the Order. He appointed Bonaventure as his replacement beforedisappearing into hermitage.

Blessed John withdrew to the village of Greccio. There he lived inisolation. He lived there peacefully until he was once more summoned fora hearing due to some accusations raised about him.

Blessed John was acquitted of these charges and once more returned tosolitude. There he prayed, fasted, and meditated.

Death and Canonization

At the age of 80, in 1274, Blessed John made a decision to go andminister in Greece. He was permitted by Pope Nicolas IV.

Blessed John died in a monastery on the 19th of March, 1289.

Pope Pius VI announced his beatification in the year 1777. He wascanonized Pre-Congregation.

Blessed John is celebrated on the 20th of March.

5 Interesting Facts About Blessed John of Parma

  1. Did you know that Blessed John was one of the first Ministers of the
    orders of Friars Minor?
  2. Did you know that Blessed John is also said to have studied in
  3. Did you know that Blessed John was such a good evangelist that even
    the powerful traveled to hear him speak?
  4. Did you know that Blessed John was the first Minister General to
    visit the whole Order?
  5. Did you know that miracles were said to have been recorded at
    Blessed John’s tomb?

Prayer to Blessed John of Parma

You stayed true to your faith by advocating for the successful return ofa simple way of living through the Franciscan order advocated by SaintFrancis. May we stay true to our beliefs especially regarding our faithin God and seek to bring his works to others especially the elderly inneed. Amen.