In 1205, the future saint was born in Verona, in northern Italy. Despite his parents, who had Manichean tendencies, Peter attended a school established in the truths of Catholicism. One day his uncle asked Peter what he had learned in school. “The Creed,” answered Peter. “I believe in God, Creator of heaven and earth.” No arguments could shake his faith, and at the age of sixteen he received the habit from St. Dominic.

After his ordination, St. Peter preached to the heretics of Lombardy and converted multitudes. He was constantly obliged to dispute with heretics. Although he was able to confound them, the devil still seized the opportunity to tempt him against faith. Instantly he would have recourse to prayer before an image of Our Lady. On one occasion, Peter heard a voice repeating the words of Jesus Christ in the Gospel, “I have prayed for you, Peter, that your faith may not fail; and you shall confirm your brethren in it” (Luke 22:32).

Peter often conversed with the saints. One day the virgin-martyrs Catherine, Agnes and Cecilia appeared to him. A passing religious, hearing their feminine voices, accused him to their Superior, who without hesitation or questions exiled Peter to a convent where no preaching was being done. St. Peter submitted humbly, but complained in prayer to Jesus crucified that He was abandoning him to his bad reputation. The crucifix spoke, “And I, Peter, was I too not innocent? Learn from me to suffer the greatest sorrows with joy.” Eventually Peter’s innocence was brought to light.

Again engaged in preaching, miracles accompanied St. Peter’s exhortations. He traveled across Italy and became well-known. Once, when preaching to a vast crowd under the burning sun, the heretics challenged him to procure shade for his listeners. As he prayed, a cloud overshadowed the audience.

Every day at the elevation of the Mass St. Peter prayed, “Grant, Lord, that I may die for Thee, who for me didst die.” His prayer was answered. Peter’s enemies, whom he had confounded, sought his life. Two of them attacked him in 1252 on the road to Milan, striking his head with an ax. St. Peter fell, commended himself to God, dipped his finger in his own shed blood, and wrote on the ground, Credo in unum Deum—I believe in God. He was then stabbed to death. The brother religious accompanying him also suffered death. The details of the crime were made known by St. Peter’s murderer, Carino, who after fleeing from justice confessed his crime, asking for a penance from the Dominican Fathers. He took the habit and according to their testimony, lived the life of a saint, persevering to the end.

Feast: June 4

Source: Dominican Province of the Assumption