Saints who were later vocations

Saints who heard a calling later in life

“Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” -Isaiah 43:18-19

Saint Joannicus


Joannicus was born to poor parents and spent his childhood tending pigs in Bithynia (modern Turkey). When he was nineteen years old, Joannicus became a guard in the service of the Byzantine emperor. He participated in smashing of sacred images, the violent and heretical "iconoclasm" endorsed by the emperor.

It wasn't until Joannicus was in his mid-thirties that he met a monk who encouraged him to examine his way of life. After much conversation, prayer, and penances, Joannicus spent the next six years as an upright and exemplary soldier. At the age of forty, Joannicus dedicated his life to Christ and left for a monastery on Mount Olympus where he made deep friendships with monks which led him to pursue solitary prayer as a monk. He died in 846.

Saint Martin of Tours


St. Martin of Tours converted to Christianity at a young age against his parent’s wishes and later became a follower of Hilary of Poitiers. He served in the Roman cavalry, but was jailed for being a coward. He would not fight because he was a solider for Christ and it would be unlawful for him to fight. He was later released from the military.

After the military, St. Marin of Tours declared his vocation and lived as a hermit on the island of Gallinaria where he ate a poisonous plant and prayed for healing. He was miraculously cured. He later became the third Bishop of Tour in 371 AD.

There is a legend St. Martin of Tours split his cloak in two and gave half to a beggar outside the gates of Amiens. Later that night, he dreamt that Jesus was wearing the half of the cloak he gave the beggar. In another version of this story, Martin awoke to find his cloak had been restored into one piece.

His feast day is November 11 and he is the patron saint against poverty, against alcoholism, and of beggars.

Saint Abraham


At the age of seventy-five years old, Abraham took his family and all his possessions and moved to Canaan after he received a message from God. God blessed Abraham with a son, Isaac, at the age of one hundred. God ordered Abraham to sacrifice his son and upon drawing his knife to slay his son, Abraham was approached by an angel. The angel told Abraham that God was pleased with Abraham's obedience and shared God's promise to him: "I will bless you abundantly and make your descendants as countless as the stars in the sky" (22:17).

Pope Benedict XVI said, "Abraham was blessed because in faith he was able to discern the divine blessing, going beyond appearances and trusting in God's presence even when God's paths seemed mysterious to him."

Saint John of God


At just eight years old, John decided to leave his home in Portugal with a priest and travel to Spain where he worked as a shepherd. After learning of his mother's death years later, John then decided to serve God with his life. He took work as a shepherd, a servant, and then a traveling peddler of religious books. With John of Ávila's encouragement, John began to learn nursing skills. He later served the sick until his death in 1550.

Blessed Gunther


As the cousin of Saint Stephen, King of Hungary, Gunther had ties to the saintly Emperor Henry. With this connection, Gunther lived a carefree and luxurious life. When Gunther was fifty years old, he met Saint Gotthard of Hildesheim, who was at the time, reforming Hersfeld Abbey. Gotthard's witness moved Gunther so much that he donated majority of his wealth to Hersfeld and became a monk.

Shortly after Gunther took charge of Göllingen, he fell extremely ill. Gotthard kindly but firmly asked Gunther to step down from his position. When Gunther agreed, he decided to become a simple monk at another monastery until his death in 1045.

Blessed Gabra Mika'el

Priest and Martyr

In 1840, Gabra, an Orthodox monk and scholar, was received into the Catholic Church by priest Justin de Jacobis. The two men began a fruitful collaboration, writing a catechism, educating priestly candidates, and founding a college. Garba was ordained a priest in 1851 at the age of sixty. Sadly, when the Ethiopean leader began persecuting Catholics, Gabra was captured and died of ill treatment in 1855. He was beautified in 1926.

Saint Francis Serrano Frías

Bishop-Elect and Martyr

Francis was a native of Huenja, Granada, Spain when he joined the Dominicans. In 1725, Francis boarded a ship to China for mission work. Dressed as peasants, Francis and his fellow missionaries carried out their ministry after their arrival. Two years later, persecutions intensified and Francis was forced to hide in chimneys and holes in the ground. However, even though Francis was in hiding most of the time, many Christians were converted and baptized over a twenty year period. In 1746 Francis and two other priests were arrested and tortured for information on the whereabouts of Bishop Peter Sanz. Sadly, in 1748, Francis and three other priests were strangled to death by their capturers.

Saint Apollo


At the age of forty, Apollo decided to desert his life to live as a hermit. Four decades later, after solitary prayer, Apollo left his current home to venture to the city to condemn persecutions of Julian the Apostate. He was then asked to take charge of a monastery near the ancient city of Heliopolis in Egypt that housed five hundred monks. He agreed to do so. He held this role until his death in 395 at the age of ninety-five.

Saint Colman of Cloyne


Born in Munster, Ireland, Colman went through extensive education for his work as a royal bard in the service of the tribal king at Cashel. When Colman was fifty years old and still a pagan, Saint Brendan visited Cashel in search of the relics of the missionary Bishop Saint Ailbhe. After Colman presented the relics to Brendan, he declared that those who touched the holy relics should no longer remain pagan. Colman was baptized by Brendan and sent to Saint Jarlath of Tuam where he was ordained a priest.

Colman began preaching in Limerick and founded a church and monastery at Cloyne and in County Kerry. He died in 606.


Deacon Steve Kramer, director of homiletics and director of recruitment at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, is available for an informal meeting where anyone could ask about anything related to feeling called to a vocation.

Feel free to reach out to Deacon Kramer at: