Blessed Ambrose Sansedoni of Siena
1220 – 1287
The son of a book illuminator, he was born so badly deformed that his mother gave him off to the care of a nurse. The nurse claimed that the only time the child was peaceful was in the local Dominican church, especially when near the altar of relics. Legend says that one day in church, the nurse covered the baby’s face with a scarf; an unknown pilgrim told her, “Do not cover that child’s face. He will one day be the glory of this city.” A few days later the child suddenly stretch out his twisted limbs, pronounced the name “Jesus”, and all deformity left him.A pious child, getting up during the nights to pray and meditate. At age two he was given the choice of two of his father’s books – and chose the one about saints. From age seven he daily recited the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin. Charitable, and even when young he worked with the poor, the abandoned, and the sick.
When he announced he wanted to join the preaching friars, his parents and friends tried to talk him out of it. But Ambrose had heard the call, and joined the friars in Siena in 1237 on his 17th birthday.
Studied in Paris, France, and Cologne, Germany with Saint Thomas Aquinas and Blessed Pope Innocent V under Saint Albert the Great. Taught in Cologne. Ambrose wanted to write, but saw the greatness of Saint Thomas, decided he could not match it, and devoted himself to preaching.
Worked on diplomatic missions for popes and secular rules. Evangelized in Germany, France, and Italy. Mystic with deep contemplative prayer life. Received ecstacies. Visionary. Known to levitate when preaching, and was seen circled in a mystic light in which flew bright birds.