St. Vincent Ferrer, whose feast the Church celebrates on April 5, was born in Valencia, Spain, in 1350. He entered the Dominican order when he was 17, and before long became an adviser to the King of Aragon and of the Avignon pope, with whom he sided — in good faith, but erroneously — during a papal schism. To heal the schism, he traveled across Spain, France, Switzerland and Italy, preaching penance, working miracles and converting tens of thousands. When he realized that the Avignon party was not in the right, he turned his efforts toward bringing them into obedience to the legitimate Pope. Thanks in large measure to the power of his preaching and the miracles associated with his prayers, his authority was instrumental at the Council of Constance in 1414. — from The Book of Saints (Morehouse, 1989)