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St. Homobonus is a special kind of saint. He’s a saint that didn’t work to divorce himself from material things and riches but who used his successful business to help the people of his town. A pious Christian, Homobonus went to church frequently and was a beloved missionary. He became renowned as someone who easily balanced his business life and acumen with his godliness and devotion.
Who is St. Homobonus?
St. Homobonus’ name may seem weird to English speakers today, but it quite simply translates as good man into Latin (homo – human, bonus/bono – good). He was born Omobono Tucenghi sometime in the 12th century in Cremona, Italy.
He had an easy early life as he came from a well-to-do family. His father was a successful tailor and a merchant. Continuing and expanding his father’s enterprise later in life, the good saint also turned it into a vehicle to help the people of Cremona.
St. Homobonus’ Inspiring Life
Having been raised in a wealthy home, St. Homobonus didn’t let this upbringing separate him from his fellow Cremonians. On the contrary, he formed the belief that God must have given him this life as a means of helping others.
The good saint focused on his duties in the church and became a beloved missionary. He was beloved for his witness of service to others, and he gave a major part of the regular profits of his business to the poor and the church.
He was praised by many of his contemporaries, which isn’t common for a lot of saints. In Lives of the Primitive Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints it’s said that he viewed his business as “an employment by God” and that he had “perfect motives of virtue and religion”.
St. Homobonus’ Business Ventures
St. Homobonus didn’t just use his father’s business to give money to the poor – he also developed and expanded the said business. We can’t know for certain the exact parameters of the development of his business, but all available Catholic sources maintain that he grew his father’s trading company to work with and in other cities and brought more riches to Cremona than before. He also became an important and revered elder in the city, often solving disputes between people in and out of the church.
St. Homobonus’ Death and Canonization
The good saint is said to have died while attending mass on November 13, 1197. His exact age at that time isn’t certain as we don’t know his birth date.
However, we do know that he died of old age while looking at the crucifix. His fellow worshippers and countrymen, having seen the manner of his death as well as his pious life, pushed for his canonization. Despite being a layman, he was canonized a little over a year later – on January 12, 1199.
Symbolism of St. Homobonus
The symbolism of St. Homobonus is one that many claim to aspire to, but few actually achieve. The Italian saint led his life exactly as you’d expect a good businessman to – by creating a successful business venture and using it to serve the people around him. He represents piety, service, peace, and the art of giving.
The only layman to be canonized during the Middle Ages, he is now the patron saint of not just businesspeople but tailors, clothworkers, and shoemakers. The good saint is still around, celebrated by Catholics worldwide on November 13. Unlike most other Catholic saints, St. Homobonus is a relevant figure in today’s corporate culture because of his association with business and wealth.
St. Homobonus’ lived a life that is inspiring in its simplicity. Born and canonized post-mortem in 12th century Cremona, Italy, St. Homobonus was a successful businessman who did everything he could for his community.
A devout Christian, he died at church with his eyes firmly fixed on the crucifix, inspiring his fellow Cremonians to push for his canonization. He is still revered to this day as a shining example of what a good businessman and Christian should strive to be.