Blessed Fra Angelo

Bl. Fra Angelico (1387-1455) was born Guido di Pietro in Tuscany, Italy. Little is known of his early life, but he became a famous early Italian Renaissance master painter. Fra Angelico would pray earnestly before he painted, being convinced that in order to paint Christ perfectly, one must also be Christlike. His paintings then became tools for contemplating the theological mysteries hidden in the biblical events he depicted. He joined the Dominican Order in 1407 and was given the name Brother John, often called “Angelic Brother John”, or Fra Angelico (Angelic Friar) because of his holiness. He lived and worked in several friaries until moving to the Friary of San Marco in Florence. While in Florence he was surrounded by an artistic community, and, due to his great talent, gained the patronage of the famous Medici family. In 1445 he was summoned to Rome to work on St. Peter’s Basilica in various chapels. From 1449 until shortly before his death, Fra Angelico was also prior of the convent in Fiesole. He passed away while working again in Rome and is buried in the Dominican church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. Fra Angelico was beatified by Pope St. John Paul II and he is the patron saint of Catholic artists. His feast day is February 18.

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