Saint Nicholas of Tolentino was born sometime around the year 1246 A.D. His parents, Compagnounus and Amata de Guidiani, had been childless and had traveled to the shrine of Saint Nicholas of Myra (Santa Claus) to ask for a son. When their prayers were answered, they named him after the saint who had interceded on their behalf.
Nicholas had a temperament that was very quiet and easygoing. From a very young age, he began fasting three days a week and added yet another day when he became an adult.
It is not known what year Nicholas entered religious life; however, he took his final vows as an Augustinian Friar when he was just eighteen years old. While in the monastery, he was the most humble of the brethren. He refused to eat meat of any kind and slept on the floor with a stone for a pillow.
At the age of twenty-five, Nicholas was ordained a priest. Many people flocked to his Masses to witness the near ecstasies he would go into during the Consecration.
Not long after his ordination, Nicholas received a vision of an angel who told him to go to Tolentino. Tolentino was experiencing a spiritual crisis brought on by a civil war between the Guelphs, who supported the Pope, and the Ghibellines, who supported the Holy Roman Emperor. Nicholas took no sides. He ministered to all, visited prisoners, and miraculously healed the sick.
Nicholas is regarded as a mystic. He regularly received visions of Purgatory and would often direct his strict fasts and long hours of prayer to the relief of the Holy Souls.
After a long illness, Saint Nicholas of Tolentino died on September 10, 1306. He was canonized by Pope Eugene IV (1383-1447) on June 5, 1446. He would have been canonized sooner if it had not been for the Western Schism. He is the patron saint of Tolentino, Italy and of the souls in Purgatory. His feast day is September 10.
In 1346, the saint’s body was exhumed and discovered to be incorrupt. An unknown person, whom some believe to be a German monk named Teodoro, detached the arms with a desire for holy relics. The arms then began to bleed to the extent that the person’s crime was discovered. Although Saint Nicholas’ body later decayed, his arms remained incorrupt. There are clear records that show the arms would intermittently bleed, usually signaling some sort of danger that would threaten the Church. In 1699, the arms began to bleed on May 29 and did not stop until September 1.
Saint Nicholas of Tolentino’s remains can still be seen in the Basilica de San Nicola in Tolentino.
Source: Butler’s Lives of the Saints
Cruz, Joan Carroll “The Incorruptibles”