blessed gonzalo of lagos

Blessed Gonzalo of Lagos put his gifts at the service of the community and the worship of God by adorning liturgical books.

Blessed Gonzalo of Lagos by Mario Ferrari, Rome, Italy.Gonzalo was born about the year 1360 in Lagos, in the district of Algarve, in southern Portugal. After visiting the church of the Augustinians in Lisbon, he decided to enter religious life, rather than to continue in his father’s footsteps as a fisherman. He entered the Augustinian community in Lisbon in 1380 and became a distinguished theologian of the Augustinian Order, always refusing, however, to accept the title of “Master,” or to accept any academic degree. He devoted his energies to preaching and the religious instruction of children and the uneducated. He was also an accomplished artist and used this talent in the decoration of many liturgical books for the monasteries of Lisbon and Santarem.

Gonzalo served as religious superior of various monasteries in Portugal, both the most humble and the most important. When he was prior of the monastery of Torres Vedras, the community was so poor that the bishop provided the food for the friars, which Gonzalo would carry home on his back until, eventually, the bishop became aware of this, and began to provide him with money instead oF provisions.

Gonzalo died at Torres Vedras on 15 October 1422, where he had served for the last ten years of his life. In his native town he is patron of mariners and fishermen, and in 1960—the 600th anniversary of his birth—he was declared patron of youth in the diocese of Faro, to which Torres Vedras belongs. His body now rests in the cathedral of Faro.

Blessed Gonzalo’s memorial is observed by the Augustinian Family on 14 October.