Didacus (or Diego, Jacob) was born in the town of San Nicolas, Andalusia. From early youth he showed a love for solitude. At Arrizafa, near Cordova, he became a Franciscan brother and was outstanding in humility and obedience. He had little formal education, yet through divine enlightenment in no way lacked wisdom. As a missionary he visited the Canary Islands and was appointed first superior of the new foundation there. In 1450 Pope Nicholas V confided to his care the sick in the celebrated convent of Ara Caeli. With his tongue he often cleansed the wounds of the sick. He miraculously healed many with oil from the lamp which burned before a picture of the Blessed Virgin or with the sign of the Cross.
During a stay at the friary at Alcala in 1463, Didacus felt the approach of his last hour. Wrapped in discarded rags, with eyes fixed immovably upon a crucifix, he died while fervently praying the words of the hymn Dulce lignum, dulces clavos, O sweet wood, O sweet nails that held so sweet a burden! For a long time his body remained incorrupt. — The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch.
Patron: diocese of San Diego, California; Franciscan laity; Franciscan lay brothers.
Symbols: Bread and roses in a tunic; cross held by an angel.