Cajetan dei Conti di Tiene (1480 – 1547), the Italian priest whose feast day we celebrate today, might have some advice for young high school and college students today: The saint earned a doctorate in civil and canon law by the age of 24.
Cajetan understood diplomacy: While still a lay person, he began service as a diplomat for Pope Julius II in 1506. He continued in that role even after his ordination ten years later, and served until the pope’s death in 1523.
Cajetan had a heart for the sick: After Pope Julius’ death, Cajetan returned to his native Vincenza where he entered the confraternity of St. Jerome. This order accepted men from the lowest stations of life; and Cajetan devoted himself to working in hospitals and seeking out the poor and sick. He founded a hospital for “incurables.”
Cajetan had a heart for the poor. He founded a bank which later became the Bank of Naples, with the goal of offering the poor an alternative to the loan sharks that would charge exorbitant interest for loans.
Cajetan founded a religious order known as the Theatines. One of the four men who joined him in his new order, Giovanni Pietro Carafa, went on to become pope (Pope Paul IV).
Cajetan understood his faith. In 1533, he established a center for opposing the spread of Lutheranism in Naples. He eventually extended that mission to the city of Verona.
St. Cajetan died on August 7, 1547, and was canonized in 1671, along with Rose of Lima, Luis Beltrán, Francis Borgia and Felipe Benicio.
He is the patron saint of the unemployed, gamblers, document controllers, job seekers, and good fortune.