The characteristics of Blessed Simon Fidati’s holiness are love
of contemplation, gospel simplicity, and religious obedience.
was born in Cascia, Italy, about the year 1295, and entered the Augustinian
Order in his youth. Initially he dedicated himself to the study of the natural
sciences, but later gave up this interest to devote all of his energy to
purely religious concerns. He became a renowned preacher with a reputation
that attracted large crowds wherever he spoke. His words had a powerful
effect on the social and public affairs of his day, though personally his
preference was always for a life of solitude, prayer, and study. Simon was
also a much sought after master of the spiritual life who consequently became
a prolific letter writer as well, spending many of his nights engaged in
the spiritual guidance of others by correspondence.
His love for simplicity and gospel poverty was evident in his style of
life as much as in his preaching and writing. He continually avoided every
position of authority both inside and outside the Order, and is known to
have severely reprimanded a friend who had been influential in having him
nominated for a bishop’s see. He considered religious obedience, however,
as the greatest of all virtues, provided that it was not in opposition to
the demands of charity.
Simon was also an accomplished theologian and excellent student of sacred
scripture. His most important writing, The Works of Our Savior
(De Gestis Domini Salvatoris), is, in fact, a life of Christ written
almost entirely as a commentary on scriptural passages. His other more popular
work, The Order of the Christian Life, is an invitation to a more
perfect conformity to Christ, and is considered one of the first writings
in the Italian language.
Simon died in Florence, during the great plague of 1348, on 2 February
1348. His remains, however, were later transferred to Cascia, where they
were kept originally in the church of Saint Augustine. More recently, they
have been preserved in the Basilica of Saint Rita, where they are now venerated
in a crypt chapel. Blessed Simon’s feast is celebrated by the Augustinian
Family on 16 February.