Protomartyr of the Dominicans
At the end of the twelfth century, in Verona, Italy, St Peter was born of Manichaean parents, but converted to the Catholic faith as a young boy. As a young man he went to Bologna to study and, inspired by St Dominic’s preaching he joined the Order, receiving the habit from the hands of St Dominic himself.
From the beginning he was dedicated to preaching, especially among the Cathars. Following the example of his teacher, St Dominic, he engaged in dialogue for the sake of the Gospel and so became its outstanding herald and witness. Marvellously filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, he laboured continually for the propagation and defence of the true faith, being zealous for its promotion among the people. To this end he established the Association of the Faith and the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was a fervent of promoter of community and fraternal life and served the brethren wisely as a prior. He was also greatly solicitious for the spiritual good of the sisters, lovingly assisting them with his advice and exhortations to their spiritual benefit. In 1251, towards the end of his life, he was made an inquisitor and fulfilled this apostolic mission effectively and with the greatest humanity.
On 6 April 1252, while returning from Como to Milan, he died by the blade of heretics ‘for love of the faith and obedience to the Church of Rome', crying out the Creed and confirming it with his blood. One of the brigands, Carinus, was later received into the Order. On 9 March 1253 Innocent IV canonized him, setting his feast day as 29 April. Following the reform of the liturgical calendar, his feast was transferred to the anniversary of the day of the translation of his relics on 4 June 1340.
Detail from the reredos of the nuns convent church in Caleruega, Spain.