A big day for builders: 5 April marks the feast day of Saint Vincent Ferrer, a former Dominican friar and patron saint of those in the field of construction.
Born in Valencia, Spain, in 1350, Vincent entered the Dominican order in his late teenage years. He devoted a significant portion of his career to missionary expeditions across the European continent, but he also played a role in the Western Schism of the later 14th century,
Originally he was a loyal supporter of Avignon Pope Benedict XIII, whom Vincent was confident could end the break within the Catholic church. Vincent was crestfallen, though, when Benedict XIII refused to resign at the crucial Council of Pisa in 1409. Vincent’s subsequently withdrawn support would encourage the end of the schism, which was made official with the Council of Constance six years later.
He died in France shortly after this resolution, on 5 April 1419, but his veneration continues today for his good works. It was, in fact, his work to rebuild or re-edify the Papacy that led to his status as the patron saint of builders.
Francesco del Cossa, Saint Vincent Ferrer, c. 1473-1475. National Gallery of Art, London.
Carmine Palmieri and Rosa Falcone, Scenes from the Life of Saint Vincent Ferrer, detail portion of predella panel, between 1435-1477. National Gallery of Art, London.
Filippo Lippi, Nativity with Saint George and Saint Vincent Ferrer, 1465-1467. Museo di Palazzo Pretorio, Prato.
Master of the Fissile Epiphany, Christ on the Cross with Saints Vincent Ferrer, John the Baptist, Mark and Antoninus, c. 1491. Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Giovanni Bellini, Polyptych of Saint Vincent Ferrer, central panel, 1464-1468. Basilica of San Giovanni e Paolo, Venice.
Giovanni Bellini, Polyptych of Saint Vincent Ferrer, lower left predella panel, 1464-1468. Basilica of San Giovanni e Paolo, Venice.