St. Cajetan is an Italian saint predominantly known as the Founder of the Theatines. He was born in Vicenza, Italy in 1480 to a pious mother who took care of him. He lived a faithful youth and took his degree as Doctor of Civil Law at Padua when he was 24. Two years later he began working with Pope Julius II as a prothonotary Apostolic. However, at Pope Julius’ death in 1523, the Catholic Church was in a state of dismay as many criticized the Church for its uneducated and immoral priests. Good priests and laypeople were left ignored and could not attain the necessary spiritual nourishment. Many, like Martin Luther, responded to this situation by splitting off from the Catholic Church. However, Cajetan did not want to split off from the Church, he wanted to restore it. In the following years, he met other clergy who felt the way he did. Together they decided to form a religious order that was based on the lives of the Apostles in the hopes that they would inspire others to live holy lives devoted to Jesus. They focused on moral lives, sacred studies, preaching, pastoral care, and helping the sick among other solid foundations of pastoral life. This newfound order became known as Theatines Clerks Regular named after the regular clergy and a bishop known as Theatensis, who was their first superior general, that founded the order. Their holy example and preaching converted many. As he worked tirelessly for the Church, St. Cajetan fell ill. When doctors tried to get him to rest on a softer bed then the boards he slept on, Cajetan answered, "My savior died on a cross. Let me die on wood at least." St. Cajetan passed away on August 7, 1547. He is celebrated today as the patron saint of Argentina, gamblers, and the unemployed on his feast day: August 7.
Saint Cajetan, when we see things that trouble us in our Church, help us to continue to love her. Guide us to the positive steps we need to take to work within the Church for renewal. Help us to be examples of holiness to all. Amen
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