Bl. Baptist Spagnoli of Mantua – Priest
Feast Day – April 17
Baptist was born on 17th April 1447 to a family of civil servants to the Dukes of Mantua. He entered the Carmelites of the Congregation of Mantua at Ferrara as a young man. While not a poet of genius, he was a superb Latin stylist, imitating Virgil. His eclogues were used in European schools for a century and a half after his death as a model of style and he was quoted by Shakespeare, Boswell, and Nashe. He made his religious profession in 1464 and served in many positions of responsibility in the community in addition to his literary work.
Baptist performed a number of diplomatic missions for the popes; he was vicar general of his congregation six times and in 1513 he was elected Prior General of the whole Order. He was a renowned humanist who brought his richly varied poetry into the service of Christ. He is the only Carmelite quoted in the works of William Shakespeare. (Love’s Labor Lost, Act IV, scene 2, line 95ff.)
He died in Mantua on 20th March 1516.
Last content update 3/22/09