St. Paschal Baylon was a humble Spanish friar of the 16th century, celebrated for his devotion to praying before the Eucharist, living a life of poverty, and providing generous care to the poor.
Born in the Spanish kingdom of Aragon in 1540 to poor parents who were deeply devoted to their faith, tradition tells us that Paschal exhibited an early devotion to prayer and interest in becoming a friar. At seven, he began herding the family’s sheep. According to tradition, young Paschal began his devotion to the Eucharist while in the fields, praying whenever he heard the bell ringing at the Elevation of the Eucharist during Mass in nearby churches.
At 24, Paschal joined the Friars Minor. Known for his devotion to his vow of poverty, he served his Franciscan community as a porter, cook, gardener and official beggar, and generously served the needy. His commitment to prayer was expressed especially in praying before the Blessed Sacrament. As his reputation as a humble and holy person spread, people flocked to him for counsel. Upon his death in 1592, crowds of people visited his tomb. Miracles were soon reported. Canonized in 1690, Pope Leo XIII named him the patron saint of Eucharistic congresses and societies in 1897. His feast day is May 17.