Blessed Diego José de Cádiz, O.F.M.Cap.
Fr. Didacus Joseph Dunn, O.F.M.Cap. of the Province of St. Conrad had Blessed Diego Jose as his namesake. Capuchin Father Didacus Dunn died on September 11, 2010 in Hays, KS.
Fr. Didacus was also known for his confession and hospital ministry as well as his preaching. He frequently referred to “the boss on the cross”, when he reached into his habit pocket and produced a crucifix.
Blessed Diego José de Cádiz
(1743-1801) whose feast day is January 6th
in the United States, died on March 25, 1801. He was a Spanish Capuchin friar
who was a noted and popular preacher throughout the region of Andalusia
during the 18th century. He was beatified
by the Catholic Church in 1894 as Blessed Didacus Joseph of Cadiz, O.F.M. Cap.
He was born José Francisco López-Caamaño y García Pérez
. His lineage dated from the Visigoth
kings. His mother died when he was 9 years old. Later his father moved the family to the city of Grazalema
, where he entered the local school run by the Dominican Order
. Though of noble ancestry, as a youth Joseph could make no progress at school, receiving the nickname of the "dunce of Cadiz". Later a classmate, a Dominican friar
named Antonio Querero, testified how difficult study had been for him.
Initially rejected by the Observant Franciscan friars
due to this perceived limitation of intellect, López-Caamaño was later accepted by the Capuchin friars and, at the age of 15, entered their novitiate
, at which time he was given the name Didacus Joseph
. He was professed
as a member of the Order on 31 March 1759. He was ordained
to the priesthood
in 1766, for which he prepared himself by an extremely ascetic
In 1771, after further training in homiletics
, he was assigned to one of the teams of friars who would preach parish missions
to residents of isolated, rural villages, which was a major focus of the Capuchins of that era. His biographers stated that the congregations marveled at the tender love he displayed to the crucifix
he would hold while preaching, and the singular power of his words, which swayed his audiences and left an impression on their lives. He wandered throughout the entire peninsula on foot, preaching in this way to the various communities he encountered on the road.
Spain was undergoing changes in its intellectual climate, as the influence of the Enlightenment
began to spread in the upper classes of the country. Didacus became a major force in promoting the traditional devotions and beliefs of Catholicism as part of the identity of the nation, and is seen as an early in
fluence in the development of Spanish culture. He also was a strong critic of the policy of consumerism
, being promoted in the universities and some government circles. For this teaching, he was denounced to the Spanish Inquisition
for attacking royal prerogatives. In turn, he accused the proponents of new economic policies and the secularization of Spanish society of heresy. He preached at the Royal Court
in 1783, but found that he had no effect on the nobility. Leaving Madrid in disappointment, he later wrote: "I do not want the royal couple to remember me".
Death and veneration
Didacus died on March 25, 1801, apparently as a result of yellow fever
, at the age of 58, in Ronda
. His remains are kept for veneration
in an urn in the small, simple chapel of Our Lady of Peace (Spanish
: la Virgen de la Paz
) in Ronda where he died, on the square now named in the friar's honor.
He was beatified by Pope Leo XIII
This unlearned man became a celebrated preacher in Spain. During his sermon one day, a child shouted aloud in the church: "Mother, mother, see the dove
resting on the shoulder of Father Didacus! I could preach like that too if a dove told me all that I should say!" Didacus prayed devotedly before his sermons.
Once when his superior chided him because of the austerity of his life, Didacus Joseph replied: "Ah, Father, my sins and the sins of the people compel me to do it. Those who have been charged with the conversion of sinners must remember that the Lord has imposed upon them the sins of all their clients. By means of our penances we should atone for the sins of our fellowmen and thus preserve ourselves and them from eternal death. It would hardly be too much if we shed the last drop of our blood for their conversion."