God, our Father, You were pleased to adorn Saint Fidelis with the palm of martyrdom. He burned with love for You in propagating the faith. Through his prayers grant that we may be firmly rooted in love and merit to experience with him the power of Christ’s resurrection.
An academician by training (philosophy and law) he knew the difficulties of being faithful in passing on the truth to eager students. It seems that university life was not particularly Christian in Saint Fidelis’ time as we would claim for our own. Even before his time as a Capuchin friar, Fidelis (in history he was Mark Roy) had a habit of frequent attendance at Mass, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and works of charity among the sick and the poor.
At the age of 35 (a late vocation) Fidelis entered religious life having always wanted to be a Capuchin friar. He’s known to have lived a life of penance and prayer. As a newly ordained priest he celebrated his first Mass on the feast of Saint Francis making a strong personal connection with the man who changed civilization.
Early in his religious and priestly life the Capuchin superiors thought of Fidelis as a key figure in the counter-reformation. Designated a guardian of a friary in Switzerland, Fidelis set out to use his learning to lead the Calvinists and Zwinglians back to the Church. In fact, the Holy See missioned Fidelis to establish a preaching band to teach the true faith and to contradict the errors of Magisterial reformers in Switzerland. Angered by his faithfulness to Christ and to the Church, the radical, heretical Protestants ambushed Fidelis, hacking him to death. Prior to death, Fidelis witnessed to the mercy of Christ by asking God to forgive his killers. It is reported that Fidelis’ body, though in pieces, was incorrupt for a long period; at the request of the ecclesial authorities Fidelis’ remains were placed in two reliquaries for the faithful to venerate. Among the Capuchin saints, Saint Fidelis has the distinction of having the fewest years of Capuchin vows (he was only 9 years a friar) than the others at the time of his canonization.