He was born in Brindisi, joined the Capuchin Friars, and studied at the University of Padua, where he learned a number of languages (including Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Syriac, French, and German) and acquired a deep knowledge of the Bible. His principal vocation was preaching. He preached all over Europe, not just to Catholics but to Protestants (because of his knowledge of Scripture) and to Jews (because of his knowledge of Hebrew). He wrote many sermons, commentaries, and works of controversy in support of this vocation. His administrative talents meant that he also held a number of high administrative offices in the Capuchin order. He was also entrusted with many important diplomatic missions. On one of these, he not only persuaded the German princes to help defend Hungary from the invading Turks, but also led their troops into battle, armed only with a crucifix. He was engaged in another delicate mission, to plead the cause of the oppressed people of Naples to King Philip III of Spain, when he died in Lisbon. For Laurence of Brindisi, preaching was the most important task of his life; but he took care to ensure that his preaching was backed by sound learning, so that he could preach to and not at his audiences. Let us take care that our own apostolate is similarly well founded.
Prayer from Morning Prayer:
Lord God, you bestowed on Saint Laurence of Brindisi
the spirit of counsel and fortitude,
so that your name might be glorified and souls be saved.
At the intercession of Saint Laurence
grant that we may see what we have to do,
and, in your mercy, give us the strength to do it.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.