April 28th : Venerable Emmanuel Padial, SJ

Venerable Emmanuel Padial, SJ

Born :April 15, 1661
Died : April 28, 1725

Emmanuel Padial, the youngest of seven children was born on Good Friday in Granada, Spain. He studied at the Jesuit College and at twenty, upon completing his courses in philosophy and theology; he entered the Jesuit novitiate in Seville. During his early years as a Jesuit, God granted him the extraordinary gift of mystical prayer – a gift that remained with him all his life. He was ordained in 1687 and was assigned to teach grammar at his alma mater for five years. Later he assumed the position of professor of philosophy and in 1698 was appointed to the chair of theology. In 1708, he relinquished this last appointment when he was appointed rector of the college until 1711 when he became a parish priest, an apostolate he assumed until his death.

Fr Padial maintained a jovial and outgoing personality in public but privately he led a severe and uncommonly mortified life. He celebrated Fridays with special austerities because of his dedication to Christ crucified and subjected his body to instruments of penance, had little sleep at night and fasted rigorously. He would fast the whole day on the feasts of the apostles and favourite saints and for feasts of our Lord and our Lady, he fasted for three days to prepare himself to celebrate them reverently. When he did eat, he had scraps of bread and soup.

Fr Padial was very prayerful and God responded with extraordinary gifts to him. He had a great devotion to the Christ Child and enthusiastically promoted this devotion to his parishioners. It was said that just a glance at a holy picture of the Christ Child was enough to fill him with ecstasy. Although he had a very scrupulous conscience and a great fear and hatred of sin, he was Granada’s favourite confessor and a much sought-after spiritual director.

Fr Padial spent the last five years of his life in great suffering. In 1720 when he was fifty-nine, he began to suffer from rheumatism which afflicted his legs and arms. Although he had difficulty in getting about, he continued his parish work through strong will although two years later he had to be confined to bed for a prolonged period. This led him to develop abscesses which required frequent lancing causing him great discomfort. As a young priest, Fr Padial had asked our Lord to grant him a share in his suffering and his prayer was now being answered. There was no remedy for his illness and the best the doctor could do was to lessen the pain. During Fr Padial’s last four months all movement was impossible and his suffering was acute. Yet he remained clear headed and continued his jovial conversation with his visitors. He would ask them as they were about to leave to pray for him and to ask God to grant him the patience to bear his suffering.

Fr Emmanuel Padial finally surrendered his soul to his crucified Christ on April 28, 1725 at the age of sixty-four and after forty-four years in the Society. To his Jesuit community and to the faithful of Granada, Fr Padial epitomized the model of the heroic follower of Christ. His cause was introduced in Rome in 1749.