St. Vincent Ferrar is a famous Dominican missionary. He was born at Valencia, 23 January, 1350; died at Vannes, Brittany, 5 April, 1419. Vincent was educated at Valencia. In 1367, he entered the Dominican Order, and was sent to the house of studies at Barcelona. From 1370 to 1390, he taught philosophy and theology. In 1390, Vincent was obliged to accompany Cardinal Pedro de Luna to France and at Valladolid he converted a rabbi, later well known as Bishop Paul of Burgos. But he soon returned home. When de Luna became Pope, Benedict XIII, in 1394 he appointed Vincent Master of the Sacred Palace. At about this time he was cited before the Inquisition for preaching publicly "the Judas had done penance", but Benedict XIII cited the case before his tribunal and burned the papers. Benedict then called him to Avignon and appointed him confessor and Apostolic penitentiary. Notwithstanding the indifference of so many prelates in the papal Court, Vincent labored zealously among the people. He steadfastly refused the honours, including the cardinalate, which were offered to him. Not until November, 1399, did Benedict allow Vincent Ferrar to begin his apostolate. For twenty years he traversed Western Europe, preaching penance for sin and preparation for judgment. Provence was the first field of his apostolate; he was obliged to preach in squares and open places, such were the numbers that flocked to hear him. In 1401 he evangelized Dauphiny, Savoy, and the Alpine region, converting many Catharins and Waldensians.
In 1408, Vincent was at Genoa consoling the plague-stricken, then he returned to Spain. It would be difficult to overestimate the influence, which he exercised in the Iberian peninsula. Castile, Aragon, Valencia, Murcia, Granada, Andalusia, and Asturias were visited in turn, and everywhere miracles marked his progress. From 1408 until 1416, he worked almost continuously in Spain. At different times in Spanish history active attempts had been made to convert the Jewish people. Vincent also began to work among them; multitudes were won over by his preaching. Ranzano, his first biographer, estimated the number of Jews converted at 25,000. In the Kingdom of Granada he converted thousands of Moors. For twenty years he traversed Western Europe preaching penance and awakening the dormant consciences of sinners by his wondrous eloquence.
He was canonized by Calixtus III at the Dominican Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, Rome, 3 June, 1455. St. Vincent Ferrar is the patron saint of builders; his feast day is April 5.
See: Giovanni Bellini. Miracles of St. Vincent Ferrar: He Raises a Dead Infant to Life and Frees Prisoners. Miracles of St. Vincent Ferrar: He Raises Dead to Life. Miracles of St. Vincent Ferrar: He Rescues a Drowned Woman and Raises the Buried to Life.
The Book of Saints: The Lives of the Saints According to the Liturgical Calendar by George Angelini, Victor Hoagland (Editor). Regina Press, Malhame & Company, 1986.
365 Saints: Your Daily Guide to the Wisdom and Wonder of Their Lives by Woodeene Koenig-Brick (Author). Harper SanFrancisco, 1995.