Almighty God, You attracted Saint Conrad through his zeal for justice to serve You faithfully in the desert. Through his prayers may we live justly and piously, and happily succeed in coming to You. Amen.
– Roman Catholic Prayer
St. Conrad was a relatively “well-to-do” man whose carelessness and repentant heart turned his life around. The story begins with St. Conrad hunting with his servant or entourage equivalent. He tells them to light a fire in woods. The fire then spreads and destroys everything in its path. A random peasant is blamed for the fire and is sentenced to execution. Right as the man is being lead to his death, Conrad comes clean about the fire being his fault. He pays for the damages, which wipes out all his possessions. He is reduced to poverty.
He takes this experience as a time for he and his wife to grow closer to God. As a result, they decided to split up. He became a Franciscan hermit, and she became a nun in the Order of Poor Clares. He earned the reputation of being devout and holy. Soon after, we went into the desert in order to escape the crowds and grow closer to God. He died on 19 FEBRUARY 1351 while praying in front of a crucifix.
St. Conrad’s story is one of redemption. It’s the story of a guy who messes up, attempts to fix the mistake, and realized that the opportunity to make the attempt is granted by God. The act of selling all his material possessions and splitting up with his wife, all to serve God is remarkable. Many in today’s society one would never sell all their possession, and would divorce their spouse at the drop of a dime.
He, in effect, went from riches to rags, and then to riches. Its a story we can learn from. Rather than chasing financial wealth, we can chase the spiritual wealth, that is a right relationship with God.